How to Adjust to the Online Summer Semester
If you’re like me, the idea of online classes is a daunting concept. It requires a different aspect of self-motivation and a new learning outlook. Until recently, I’ve never had the opportunity to take online classes but, surprisingly, I have come to enjoy this new form of virtual learning.
Currently, I am enrolled in one online course, ENGL 385: Victorian Medievalism. It was a class that like many others this summer was originally scheduled to be an in-person lecture. It was supposed to have field excursions to local sites such as Craigdarroch Castle (where I work), Christ Church Cathedral, and Ross Bay Cemetery. As a major nerd for anything and everything Victorian, this class is truly the highlight of my summer. However, due to COVID-19, our lectures are now all online. As a consequence, I’ve had to not only learn new and exciting material but also how to best prepare for online lectures. Below are my personal tips to adjust to the online classroom.
1. Write down important dates and put them in a visible place.
Whether this is on a sticky note, a piece of scrap paper, or a whiteboard, I find that if you are not constantly reminded of your tasks, you tend to forget what is due.
Especially with online summer classes, remember to write down the exact time that you must hand in assignments. The summer semester is fast-paced—don’t forget a due date!
2. Recreate a familiar routine before and after class.
Every morning before my class starts, I do a 10-15 minute walk to and from the campus entrance to simulate my typical commute. It helps my brain adjust, I get in some exercise and it allows me to reflect on what I have to do for the day.
This is especially helpful when you are sitting in on longer lectures than you are usually used to. Get rid of that pent up energy, take a break, and take a walk around your block!
I also try to do my usual morning things before class. Shower, breakfast, and choose a cool outfit for the day. This can help you physically feel as if you are in your usual routine, and you know is just a good thing to do!
3. Check CourseSpaces, and your emails, more often.
If you are used to in-person lectures, many classes do not heavily rely upon CourseSpaces for their class structure. However, now online platforms such as CourseSpaces and Blackboard Collaborate are the new academic setting. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these websites; this is your virtual classroom.
4. Stay in touch with your professors.
I personally recommend introducing yourself to your professors via email as your classes begin. This allows familiarity and brings a personal touch to your learning experience. Professors are amazing resources for help. Don’t be afraid to stay in touch! Especially in a time where we cannot connect in person, introductions and participating in class are even more so appreciated.
5. Allow time for breaks and free time.
Most importantly now, we need to prioritize mental health. We are not all in ideal situations and sometimes we have to make time to feel ready for other aspects of our complicated lives.
We must acknowledge that while we must be socially distant and self-isolate from others, this period of time is not a productivity competition. We all are doing our best. Let’s support one another!
Do you have any suggestions? Comment down below some of your personal tips to adjust to an online classroom setting.