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5 Tips To Help You Be Prepared for Distance Learning

Girl with curly hair sits at a desk in her bedroom looking at laptop.

Recent developments surrounding COVID-19 have sparked major changes in New York’s system of higher education. While the main focus is keeping our campus community informed of health and safety updates, which can be found at our Health Alert – Novel Coronavirus page, our campuses are also actively fine-tuning their online learning efforts. During this time of change and the need to be adaptable, SUNY has moved the majority of its coursework online. Students throughout the system are transitioning to remote instruction, many for the first time.

With this in mind, the SUNY system is working full force to ensure that our students’ learning experiences are not interrupted or compromised due to these changes. As each student is different and may require different needs to thrive as an online learner, our campuses are dedicating much of their time to fielding student questions and sharing resources with faculty on how to create the most optimal experience for their class. While part of this process may involve learning on-the-go, we know the SUNY family will get through this together by being prepared and lending a helping hand to those who need it.

To ease the transition, we have compiled a list of our best tips for preparing for online classes:

  1. Review changes to your syllabi. With a new platform for instruction, many professors are adjusting their grading systems to accommodate online learning. Brush up on the policies and procedures for your classes, and ask questions early on to make sure you understand the new attendance and participation guidelines.
  2. Create a schedule. In the absence of regularly scheduled classes, it might seem challenging at first to keep up with homework and new online requirements. Map out a schedule for yourself, with time set aside for each individual class, just as you would if you were in the lectures in person. A general rule is to set aside 2 hours of time for homework for every one credit you are taking. You can also include your classmates in your routine, suggests SUNY Cobleskill‘s Provost Dr. Susan Zimmermannt. She says “Create an online study group and set up regular times to meet to review homework, study for tests, etc.”
  3. Stay in touch with classmates. Just like you are, all of your peers are going through the same switch to online classes. It may seem tough not seeing them in class anymore, but keep open lines of communication with your classmates to help each other study for upcoming exams. For instance, all Onondaga Community College students have access to Microsoft Teams, where they can set up virtual study groups and keep in touch with their classmates.
  4. Check class announcements, emails, and campus resources. This probably seems like a simple solution, but many students fall behind on work because they missed important communication from their professor. Especially with new updates coming from campus leadership and the governor, make sure to check your email frequently to stay on top of new updates.Don’t forget to utilize campus resources, such as FAQ pages and informational materials dedicated to this transition in learning, such as the Keep Teaching UAlbany webpage, which provides help to both faculty and students. Additionally, some campuses are implementing new services to provide students with further assistance: SUNY Poly has launched a LiveChat to “provide parents, students, faculty, and staff with information and real-time answers on a variety of topics.”
  5. Test your technology ahead of time. In the year 2020, many of us have already spent a lot of their work and academic careers. But as technology advances, it can become difficult to keep up with. Make sure you have a space with sufficient internet access and test your laptop capabilities for the software your classes will require of you. Molly Mott, the associate provost at SUNY Canton, expands on this point in saying, “reach out to your faculty if you can or cannot access the materials, or if you are having technology issues.”

Although we are living in a time of uncertainty, which can bring about feelings of confusion and states of stress surrounding learning, Provost Zimmermannt provides the following advice, “Stay positive—you may encounter challenges establishing a work/life balance, understanding the course content, or adapting to new technology.” As we move forward, Chancellor Johnson has made it clear that “your SUNY family is here for you,” and that “while everything may seem different, take comfort in the things that remain the same—studying, completing projects, and connecting with each other virtually.”

Written by Binghamton University

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There is 1 comment

  • David Jones says:

    Well, it’s been over two months since distance learning began. I think we made it!

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