How to Deal When Your Classes & Exams Are Suddenly All Online

By Kaitlin Hurtado on April 26, 2020

With campuses moving to remote work due to the current coronavirus pandemic, students are suddenly thrust into a new school schedule of online classes and exams. While the appeal of online classes has always been there for some students, it is far from an ideal situation for many other students that have no choice but to quickly adapt to this new way of learning. From not having the proper tools needed to excel in online learning to simply not being able to focus in an online learning setting, the sudden transition to remote learning can be a difficult one for many students. For tips on dealing with online classes and how you can prep yourself with success in both online classes and exams, keep reading:

dealing with online classes

Photo: Pexels

Find the best way to communicate

One of the largest drawbacks of remote learning is not having the regular experience of connecting with classmates and professors as you would in a typical learning school. Whether you are watching a pre-recorded lecture and you are unable to ask questions in real-time or you’re having trouble offering input through a Zoom meeting, communicating the way you are used to is often no longer an option when it comes to remote learning.

Establish a clear line of communication with other students and your professor as soon as you can. With professors, they’re most likely relying on email to quickly resolve students’ issues, but that also means they may be getting an influx of messages. Send them a message as soon as a problem or question arises so that you have a better chance at getting a timely response, and if possible, see if you can connect via voice or video call to get clearer instructions on what you need.

Likewise, connect with your peers. While you may have to participate in mandatory discussion boards for participation points and assignments, you may want to connect with your classmates outside of class times. See if there’s a group chat for students taking the class and if there isn’t — make one! Participating in a group chat can help you get assistance, whether it be clarifying an assignment or getting notes on something you missed in lecture.

Create a learning space

Another drawback of online classes is not having the learning environment you are used to. Whether you are back home in your childhood bedroom or still living near campus, you no longer have access to the lecture halls, classrooms, libraries and countless campus study spots you used to take advantage of. You may find yourself lacking an effective learning space, especially if you are home with family or with roommates. Try to find a quiet space in your house. While, ideally, this would be a desk in your own private bedroom, it’s not a situation everyone has access to. If you don’t have your own bedroom or desk to work on, make a makeshift workspace. This could be the dining table in your living room or the table in your kitchen.

These spaces may not be the most ideal if you have family at home all the time, but having a space you dedicate as your “work zone” can help you focus on learning. Let your family/roommates know when you have online classes and exams so that they can be more cautious when interacting when your space during certain times.

dealing with online classes

Photo: Pexels

Make a routine and stick to it 

Regardless of whether you moved back home or not due to your campus closing, your routine has likely changed tremendously. You no longer have to factor in getting up and getting to and from class, hanging out with friends and maybe are no longer working. You may be realizing it now, but routines work tremendously in keeping us on-task in our day-to-day lives. Now that our old routines have largely and suddenly changed, it may be leaving us unmotivated to do anything — housework, schoolwork, you name it.

Rather than get lost in the seemingly endless loop feeling that comes with quarantine, make a routine to help yourself stay on track when dealing with online classes and life in general. For starters, look at what was integral to your routine pre-quarantine. Did you love going to the gym for a mid-day boost? Or chatting up your friends after a long day of classes? Try to mimic those activities with quarantine in mind. Work out at home at the time you usually would, schedule Zoom hangouts with your friends and so on.

For school specifically, creating a schedule is more important than ever. You don’t have a teacher implementing a strict no-tech distraction policy during lecture anymore — you’re basically free to zone out during lectures and learn absolutely nothing. Even if you don’t have a planner dedicating to schedule, get a random notebook or the calendar app on your phone to schedule your time. Give yourself time to complete assignments and readings, take breaks, study for exams — just as you would normally.

Dealing with online classes, especially so suddenly, can be daunting. With these tips in mind, however, you can help your self adapt to having to take online classes and exams.

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