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Some Tips for Getting the Most Out of Online Learning

What a week it’s been! And it’s only Monday.

Just Breathe

If you’re freaking out, take a moment to breathe! Hyperventilation never helped anyone.

Let’s not kid ourselves: this is a difficult, scary thing we’re all going through. And it’s going to affect everyone, but it’s going to affect different people in different ways. Some people are going to have to put aside their teaching and learning for a while in order to focus on survival. Others, meanwhile, will be stuck at home, desperate for something to do.

For those of you feeling stressed out about this sudden and unexpected jump to remote teaching and learning, you are in good company! I think we’re all pretty stressed out about it. Which brings me to Tip #1:

Don’t hesitate to reach out to others going through the same thing.

Not sure about assignments, grades, or what’s going to happen to the class? Ask your professors. They might not have 100% firm answers about some of those things right now, but they’ll appreciate you sharing your concerns. And reach out to your classmates too. Just because you’re no longer in the same dorm doesn’t mean you can’t create a virtual community.

Embrace what you can do with the online format instead of fretting about what you can’t do.

In-person classes have many wonderful things about them. You know what, though? They’re just one, very limited, approach to learning. The online/remote format offers lots of flexibility, lots of opportunities for “real world” engagement with topics, and a whole world of information at your fingertips. Brainstorm with your classmates and your instructors about how you can use this as an opportunity to study your topic from a new angle and think about it in new ways.

Take charge of your learning.

Classroom education offers lots of instant feedback and accountability, but it can leave students feeling disempowered. Working remotely is a great chance to build your “self-accountability” muscles–and think about what’s important to you and how you want to prioritize your time and energy.

Don’t get overwhelmed.

It can seem like you need to be doing *everything* right now. And your day may suddenly have a lot less structure to it than you’re used to. Make a commitment to put some self-chosen structure into your schedule, and refuse to let your to-do list overwhelm you.

Keep your sense of humor, and have fun!

Craziness is going to happen. Online systems are going to crash, assignments are going to disappear into the ether, your cat will walk across your keyboard just as you’re trying to answer your instructor’s question on that Zoom videoconference. Or maybe your instructor’s cat will walk all over their keyboard while they’re trying to call on you. It’s all okay. Share a good laugh, and move on.

And as you head into this new world of learning, may the odds be ever in your favor!

May the odds

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