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Student Learning

Tips for Online Learning

Online and hybrid learning can be an effective and wonderful way to learn, but it may be different from the modality you are familiar with and have experienced in the past. With this in mind, we offer the following tips to help you excel in your online and hybrid classes this semester. You might also take a moment to watch this short video about How to Succeed in a Remote Learning or Online Class by faculty members from Portland Community College. They offer some wonderful advice, but please be mindful that your faculty at WKU may have different policies and expectations for things like attendance and time spent on your course (3 hours, 4 hours, etc.). If you have questions reach out to your faculty for clarification of expectations.


TIP #1

Communicate with your Faculty and Peers

If your faculty emails you before the semester, be sure to read the email as well as any attachments or information they provide. If they share the syllabus, look through it to see what questions you have for the first day. Also, if they ask for you to take a moment before the first day to answer questions about yourself or create an introductory video, take the time to do it and check back to see what other students post. This will help ensure that you are starting well and you’ll have a much better sense of your classmates when class officially starts.

If your faculty offers virtual office hours, be sure to participate. This is a great opportunity to ask questions, get clarification, and learn from your faculty. If you’re unable to meet at the time the faculty is online, email them and see if you could set up an individual meeting at a different time. It’s important to be proactive and take the time to visit with your faculty.

Be sure to check Blackboard multiple times per week. This is where you will likely find course information, videos, assignments, quizzes, etc. Checking in multiple times a week will help to ensure that you won’t miss important announcements and conversations happening online.

Check your WKU email regularly. This will help you to stay connected to campus, your faculty, and your peers.

Familiarize yourself with online learning tools. You will need these to communicate with your peers and faculty. Check out the Learning Tools page for information such as where to find the learning tools and tutorials as to how to use them. Contact the ITS Service Desk if you run into technical problems and issues.

TIP #2

Get Comfortable with new Tools

As you are engaging in various course modalities (face-to-face, hybrid, and online), you may have to learn how to use some new tools and applications. Be sure to check out the tutorials for those tools found on the Learning Tools page or familiarize yourself with the help resources found on the applications’ homepage. 

Practice with these learning tools. If you have never used Zoom before, go into the Zoom Test Session to get familiar with it.  If you have never given a presentation with Mediasite before, make a recording and go through the process.  Practicing will help you build confidence and will help you to iron out technical issues BEFORE your big projects or class sessions.

Contact the ITS Service Desk if you run into technical problems and issues.

TIP #3

Stay Organized

If possible, even if you’re not required to meet synchronously, designate specific meeting or work times when you will log in to each of your online classes. It’s important that you are checking into each course regularly throughout the week and aren’t trying to cram everything into one day.

Organize your work by priority. Remember that you cannot do everything and be everywhere at once.  As a result, you need to look at all of your upcoming work and prioritize it accordingly. 

You can use tools such as the Blackboard Calendar Feature and your Outlook Calendar to organize your due dates and work.

TIP #4

Practice Self-Care

Take care of yourself by eating well, resting, and exercising. You do not have to go to a gym to get some physical exercise.  YouTube has a plethora of videos on yoga, kickboxing, barre, etc. that you can do from the comfort of your home.  Overall, make your health a priority.

Be kind to yourself and be positive. With everything going on, things may go wrong.  A deadline may be missed or technology may not work, and that is ok.  Communicate the issues with the appropriate parties and move forward. Despite our best efforts, we will inevitably miss something.  You can still be kind to yourself and give yourself some grace to make mistakes.

TIP #5

Manage Your Environment

Manage physical distractions. When you are at home, there may be people bustling about and pets making noise. Try to find a place and time to focus on your learning.

Manage virtual distractions. It is hard when on the internet to not check social media or the news, but do your best to focus on your learning. Google Chrome's Web Store has a number of extensions that you can add to your browser to help you focus on the task at hand. You can also turn on your Do Not Disturb on your phone as well.

TIP #6

Engage with Others

With all of the change, unrest and stress of the last several months, it may be easy to forget to check in with those closest to you. Make sure to reach out to family and friends and connect.  It is a great way to feel loved and reduce stress levels.

Reach out to your faculty and classmates and have an open dialogue about this change. Everyone is in the same situation.  Let’s rely on each other as we navigate through this period.


If you need help, ask for it!


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 Last Modified 8/12/20