Online Instruction Feedback: Tips for Students

Congratulations on completing your first week of learning online.

We hope the tips we offer here can help you manage the workload in this new modality. We recognize that each one of you has different circumstances and challenges through this difficult situation. We hope you find these tips useful, as they are built on the experiences of faculty and students at AUC last week as well as good practices from all over the world. We are also sharing a set of useful tips for faculty after our first week.

  • Communicate consistently - make sure you know what your professor's preferred mode of communication is, be it email or Blackboard online discussions or something informal your professor has established such as Whatsapp group or Slack team. 

  • Make sure you also check your email, frequently, at least twice a day (but not too often, so not every five minutes) so you don't get overloaded with many messages all at once.

  • Go to office hours when you need them. Make sure you know when your professor or teaching assistant is holding office hours and sign up for them. If you aren't sure, request an appointment, particularly if you are struggling with some aspect of the course. Get help as soon as you need it. 

  • Be as empathetic as you can be. It can be difficult to maintain rapport with others online, and at the same time, these times of social isolation requires us to be empathetic to each other despite our own anxieties. Remember that other students and professors all have an additional load and are going fully online probably for the first time in their lives while juggling family responsibilities and maybe also technical difficulties. Be patient as we all find our way together through this time.

  • Communicate with colleagues and friends outside class sessions to help each other and work on assigned group projects. Use phones or Zoom or even house parties. Make time for the fun, social part of group work (i.e. eat a meal together) and not just for work.

Manage your time. It is difficult to manage time while studying at home. Make sure you maintain a regular sleep/wake cycle, eat healthy, get some fresh air, and exercise regularly when you can. Set time aside for studying and time for relaxing. Don't spend all your free time watching morbid news online. Check out further wellbeing tips here and time management for online courses here.

  • Tell your professor if you feel the workload for a particular assignment is more than you think they imagine, share your thoughts with your professor.

  • Divide your work into manageable segments. So maybe a larger paper can be done over three days rather than in one go. Try to start working a few days before the deadline.

  • Ask for clarifications from professors and teaching assistants. This may best be done via email, online office hours, or informal channels of communication. 

  • Communicate technical difficulties as early as possible so your professor can adjust/accommodate your needs/capabilities.

  • Seek help from the Writing Center where needed.

  • Be kind to yourself. Make sure this experience is not overly stressing you out. If it is, let your professors know, as they may be doing something that unintentionally adds to your stress and may be able to change it.

  • Seek help from the Center of Student Well-being if you sense that you may be developing depression or anxiety or something similar. 

While we know many of you enjoy meeting your faculty via videoconferencing, remember that some faculty and students have inconsistent or poor internet, or may need to share devices/wifi with other members of their household, or have other responsibilities. It is not always easy to manage a fruitful synchronous session. Also, appreciate the amount of effort your teacher puts into pre-recording videos for you that you can watch and pause and rewatch at your own pace. These will be helpful study guides. Faculty will be working hard to find a balance between work you can do on your own, such as viewing a lecture online, assignments, activities or readings, and the real-time connection as a group or class via zoom. 

Make sure to regularly check out the tips for learning online for students and useful visual resources for quick reference.