Tips for Online Success

  Keep in touch.

The university continues to send campuswide communications with important updates about coronavirus.

  • As you receive information from faculty members, take note of how class meetings and assignments will be administered and create a personal schedule. Some classes will meet synchronously and others will not. For those that do, note down the time slot considering your current time zone.

  • Check in with your instructors. If you do not hear from a faculty member or have any questions about class meetings or assignments, reach out to them. In addition, keep your instructors in the loop about any situations that limit your ability to participate in class or complete assignments.


  Don’t hesitate to ask for (and offer) help.

  • Make sure that you have the technology you need to access your courses and a stable internet connection.

  • Ask questions. Remote learning is probably new to you, your classmates, and your course instructors. You should feel comfortable reaching out to faculty members and your advisor when you have a problem.

  • Offer suggestions. Consider attending one or two online office hour sessions to check-in with your instructor and share your experience.

  Take care of yourself.

  • Your health and safety are the top priority. Without clear designated course schedules and given the daily news, anxiety can crop up. Make sure that you schedule time to take care of yourself. Consider taking a walk between classes or call a friend. Take time to make a good meal (we know you miss your Route 1 favorite spots), or take a break and watch Netflix (just don’t get sucked into binging an entire season.)


  Manage your time.

  • Learning remotely requires time management and dedicated time and space. In addition to online meetings, make time for homework and other course assignments.

  • Limit distractions (including unnecessary open tabs in your web browser) to participate in class and complete assignments. Consider having a dedicated work space.

  • Time management can also be stress management. So, be kind to yourself and recognize that you may need to set aside more time to do tasks.

  You can still work (well) in groups.

  • Take group work seriously. Remember that your peers will enrich your learning and you will enrich theirs.

  • Make an effort to get to know others. Introduce yourself to classmates. Refer to them by name.

  • Don’t procrastinate. That group project may be out-of-sight, out-of-mind if you aren’t seeing your group regularly. Make daily progress, even if small, and stay in touch.

  • Meet regularly, especially if you usually touch base after class or lab. Consider a quick text on your group chat about progress every couple of days. Ideally, have real conversations over video regularly.

  • Set a purpose for meetings and use a shared notes document.

  • Keep videos open when you can. As long as you can see whatever you need to collaborate, keeping the video visible on your computer screen will help you see the expressions of your teammates and stay connected to each other.

  • Check on each other. If someone has been absent from your group meetings or chat, ask them directly if they’re still able to participate in the project. If you aren’t getting responses within a day or two, let your instructor know.

  • Understand that there are different approaches to solving problems. Listen respectfully to how and why the approach could work.

  • Consider using a class group chat to share announcements, but don’t use for assignments or academic discussions.


  Establish good online practices.

  • In live sessions, use your video camera unless your bandwidth is poor. (Otherwise it’s easy to get distracted.) Use attentive, courteous body language

  • If possible, plug in a headset with a built-in microphone, rather than your laptop’s speakers and microphone. Make sure you’re in a quiet location. Mute your microphone when not speaking

  • In live sessions, use the chat function and encourage your peers to respond to each other. Be aware of how much you are contributing to in-class discussions

  • Listen respectfully. Don’t interrupt or engage in private conversations while others are speaking

  • Learning online is new to all of us and are bound to make mistakes in this setting. Be patient and supportive of your colleagues. Treat everyone with respect and keep discussions focused on the course content

  • Think and re-read before you post in online discussions, since intentions behind a statement might not be clear. When we are communicating only through text, it can be easy to misinterpret what someone is saying since we don’t see facial expressions and body language. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if something is unclear.

  • Create study groups. Reach out to students who aren’t in the same time zone and may need to connect with you asynchronously. Look for or suggest a forum where students can post the times they are available (or their time zones) and their own Zoom link so they can virtually get together.


Adapted from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning and Duke University Student Affairs and Undergraduate Education.