Chances are, you’ve recently been thrown into a whole new world for your college education.

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, schools, colleges, and universities around the world have moved classes online (and/or embraced some sort of remote learning format). Here at FRCC, online classes are continuing as originally scheduled, but now on-campus classes will use online learning, videoconferencing, or both. Instructors are reaching out to students, so if you are an FRCC student, be sure to check your course Desire 2 Learn (D2L) site and your email.

If you’re not fully comfortable with this transition, it’s understandable. There’s a lot of uncertainty in our world right now, and the adjustments to how you’ll continue your college education affects you directly in your day-to-day life. Here are a few tips to help you be successful as an online student:

Get help getting set up.

Your college or university is probably offering guidance for students to download any software and get familiar with the programs/platforms you will be using in the weeks to come. Take advantage.

Ask questions if you need to, and if there is a help phone number available, don’t be afraid to call it to get assistance downloading the software and getting familiar with the programs your college will be using in the weeks to come.

Establish a schedule.

There’s a pretty big difference between in-person learning and online/remote learning. If you have chosen traditional classes because you learn better that way, there’s no doubt that this time will be challenging.

Do yourself a favor by scheduling your work time. If your teachers suggest a specific routine or schedule, take their advice. If it’s left to you, be honest with yourself about when you are most alert and productive and create a schedule for when you will watch videos/attend online classes and study/complete your work.

Keep connected.

Just because your class is no longer in person does not mean you should forgo any interaction with your classmates and instructor(s). Take the initiative to engage in online discussions and reach out to your instructor whenever you need help or have questions.

Your writing skills matter more than ever because you may need to correspond with your instructor or other students. Do your best to articulate your ideas and arguments thoroughly in your discussion posts and other communication.

Remember that flexibility doesn’t mean less work.

For many, online learning is appealing because of its flexibility, but your courses will be just as rigorous and involved even if you’re not going to campus.

Do not let yourself fall behind because you have not embraced good time management and organization. Plan out your weeks as soon as you receive directions from your instructors. Put all deadlines on your calendar. Stay on top of everything just as you would normally.

Get your study space situated.

This can be a home office, a desk, or your kitchen table. Wherever you choose, make sure it’s in a spot where you will not get distracted easily. Outfit the space with all of the materials you will need to stay productive: a laptop, notepad, pens and pencils, etc. 

There will be a lot of other people learning and working online, too, so download or print out key documents like your course syllabus and assignments so you can keep working offline even if your internet connection is slow or temporarily unavailable.

Lastly, please remember to be patient with yourself. This is new to you and might feel a bit uncomfortable for a while. Be open-minded to remote learning, and give it a chance.

Again, contact your instructors if you need guidance or help. This will be a time when you learn a lot about yourself as you are forced to push outside your comfort zone. No matter what, you’ll come away stronger because of it.

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