Preparing to learn fully online when you haven’t done it before

Posted by Christine Campbell on Friday, March 20, 2020 at 2:54 PM PDT

Person at computer looking into the distance, smiling

In the past 2 weeks, over 100 colleges and universities have closed or moved to online learning to create social distance during COVID-19. The sudden move away from campus and toward online instruction has surprised and disrupted students’ lives and may make focusing on school in Spring quarter a hard task.   

It is absolutely understandable that some students worry about losing personal connections if they are taking online classes. Others worry about having to navigate different technology across classes – it's possible that some professors will choose various online platforms. Some students are worried about how to navigate staying in school when they feel disconnected, uncertain of finances and intimidated by online learning. 

These are all valid concerns. But we are Redhawks, and we don’t shy away from change or adversity...we embrace it and use it to do good in the world. 

You may find that you actually enjoy online learning this quarter. It provides more flexibility, and it can offer a rich set of learning experiences that aren’t always found in a physical classroom. At a time when so many other things are being put on hold, you will still be able to engage in learning with your friends and you will keep making progress toward graduation. To help with this transition, we have provided: 

10 tips for online Redhawk learning in Spring Quarter 2020

Before classes start: 

  1. Make sure you have a good internet connection. Comcast is offering free internet to anyone who needs it. Take the time now to sit on the phone and get your internet figured out. 
  2. Make sure you have a working computer. Lemieux Library has a supply of new Chromebooks that students can check out for the whole quarter. Call the library at 206-296-6446 to arrange to get a computer if you need one.  
  3. Visit the Seattle U IT services page for more links and information to make sure your computer is connected. 
  4. Set up a learning space at home. Many students had to quickly move off-campus and likely into more crowded, shared space with family or friends. Focus on organizing your things now and finding a place to work. Where can you be for a Zoom session? Where can you concentrate to write or study? Coordinate with the other people you live with to have quiet space and other noisier spaces. If you find yourself using Zoom for the first time, you can get help from Seattle U here. And you can always download a virtual Zoom background to liven up or mask your surroundings. 

Once classes start: 

  1. Set your alarm for each class - It might sound funny, but once you plan out your weekly class schedule, set your phone alarm for 5-10 minutes before each class. Things are so strange right now that it might be easy to forget you have a class. Use your alarm as a backup reminder. Even if your class isn't meeting synchronously during that time, it's a good time to work on homework given by your instructor. 
  2. Plan out homework time on your calendar. Again, with people living all around you, there will be lots of distractions. Be disciplined and map out time daily for when you will get homework done. Stay on top of your assignments. You can sync your Canvas calendar to your phone to help.  
  3. Stay connected. Take advantage of office hours—online. Connect with other students for help understanding assignments – online. Create study groups – online. Use Snapchat. Or Slack. Or Zoom. Or Facetime. Everything that you did in-person can and should still happen online. You can also continue to get help from Lemieux Library Learning Assistance programs. The Writing Center is online. Other student support services across campus are working quickly to shift toward online services---stay tuned.  
  4. Communicate with your academic team. If you’re struggling, reach out early to your advisor and professor. We really mean it when we say we here for you and want to help you succeed. And if you just want to say hi, and talk about how things are going, we want to talk to you too. 
  5. Set aside time each day to go outdoors and exercise. Maybe you used to go to the gym in the afternoon. Replace that with a run in the afternoon now. And If you never really found time to exercise, you might find that now. Go on a walk with a friend—6 feet apart. Or sit outside on your balcony or porch. It’s good for your health and your mental health. 
  6. Remember you’re a Redhawk. Much of who we are revolves around service to others. Now more than ever, your bright minds and service orientation is needed in this world. Look for ways to safely help in your community. The Center for Community Engagement has some concrete ways to help from a distance.  

Good luck getting ready for the start of Spring Quarter on April 6, -- we can’t wait to be connected again. And reach out to us if you have questions.  

Christine Campbell – 206-296-5503, cell 206-617-6943 

Campbellchr1@seattleu.edu