Being a Successful Student Online: Tips for Our New Remote Learning Context
Setting yourself up to do well online is rooted in the same skills that have helped you do well in person—attentiveness, preparation, hard work, responsiveness, engagement—but the two modes of learning do have differences. Here are some tips to help you be successful in our new learning context:
- First and foremost, take care of yourself and encourage each other: Remote learning—and the situation that has made remote learning necessary—can bring stress and confusion. Have patience with yourself and others. Technical snafus can and likely will happen—that’s okay. Share any concerns or issues with your professor. Be sure to pay attention to your basic needs and make self-care a high priority.
- Check your technology and know where to get help: Do you have the necessary technology to be able to fully participate in your course? Minimally, you will need a reliable internet connection and computer; much of what you’ll be asked to do in our remote class can be done with a mobile phone and data plan, but a computer will generally give you a better experience. See the UIS page on internet connectivity issues if you don’t think you have a stable connection. A webcam (built-in or external) will allow you to participate more fully in Zoom for class, and earbuds/headphones may also be helpful. If you need help meeting the technology requirements to participate online, please call the main campus helpline at 202-784-3510 and notify your Advising Dean. Need help with equipment? Contact email@example.com.
- Familiarize yourself with tools you’ll use online: The videoconferencing tool Zoom will be one of the most important tools during this time. Zoom can be used on a computer or on a mobile phone. You can join over an internet connection (for video and audio) or dial in if you do not have internet access. You will probably also be using Canvas (our learning management system) and Proctorio (proctoring software for tests). UIS is available 24/7 to help with most issues, including Zoom (email firstname.lastname@example.org), and Canvas has a 24/7 student helpline for problems with the platform.
- Get set up for class: When you meet as a class via Zoom, try to find a place with minimal distractions in the background as a courtesy to your classmates. Before you join your class session, ensure that your computer camera works, and consider using earbuds/headphones for clearer sound. It’s best to mute yourself when you’re not speaking to avoid broadcasting background noise during class. If you’re doing your remote learning from another country, check out our tipsheet on Best Practices for Teaching and Learning Internationally.
- Talk to your professor: During times like these, communication might require more effort and attention. Your professor will be letting you know the best way(s) to communicate, depending on the issue you are having. Be sure to reach out to your professor for help whenever something is unclear or confusing, or if you are having other issues. Don’t hesitate to ask questions!
Although remote learning is different from in-person learning, this can be a powerful learning experience—especially if you stay engaged and give it your all.
What are your responsibilities as a student in a remote learning environment?
- Do not record lectures or class discussion without explicit permission.
- Do not distribute any class materials—syllabus, lectures, powerpoint slides, recorded lectures or any other course content—without your professor’s explicit permission.
- Do contribute to class discussion and engage with your peers in a respectful manner consistent with how you would behave in a face to face class.
For support with tools and tips for teaching online, CNDLS provides virtual office hours, Monday-Friday. Click here to enter virtual office hours. Hours of operation: Monday – Thursday, 10 am – 4 pm and Friday between 10 am and 12 pm. After hours, you can reach us at email@example.com.