6 Tips for Rocking Remote Education

Yep. It’s true. The news is viral. Literally.  Because of the COVID-19 pandemic UVM is moving to online classes / remote learning / distance education for the forseeable future.  While our professors work to reconfigure their courses for online instruction, we thought we’d take some time to prepare you for a drastic shift in how we’re about to learn.  It’s going to take some adjusting, but with a little bit of ground work, some flexibility, and a whole lot of faith in UVM’s amazing staff and faculty – we can make some lemonade out of these lemons.

The tips that follow might help your planning process:

Find / Create an Epic Study Space

So you’re home – and everyone is practicing social isolation all up in your space.  The struggle is real.  Do your best to find or create a quiet and distraction-free space. Make sure you have a decent (perhaps cozy?) workspace and a good place to sit – while rocking out to an astronomy lecture in your bed might seem like a good idea at first, 30 minutes in your back will wish you had a chair.  Plus sitting at a workspace will help you get out of ‘sleepy mode’ and into class mode. Stock up on supplies like pens and pencils – and mmmaybe a few snacks. Set-up near a window or have a good desk lamp to keep your eyes happy. Be sure to put your phone on “Do not disturb” and unplug from social media while doing class work.

It’s also helpful to get all the technology you’ll need ready.  Download and explore Microsoft Teams if you have classes using it.  Investigate Zoom.  And reacquaint yourself with Blackboard.

Pro Tip: Headphones and a slick Study Playlist (like this one) will help you block out distractions and keep your brain tuned in.

 

a planner and a pen

Make a Study Plan

We always recommend using a calendar and making to-do lists – but it’s even more important now that it’s up to you to manage most of your time.  Use a calendar or planner to carve out time for participating in class remotely and identifying time you’ll be working on homework. Try thinking of it as a work schedule – but for learning.  Did you know you already have a digital UVM calendar? Log into your UVM Email (mail.uvm.edu), click the icon made up of 9 small boxes in the top left corner, then select Calendar.  Voila! Your own personal UVM calendar.

It’s extremely helpful to create to-do lists, set time limits, and stick to your schedule.  You can log into Microsoft Planner with your UVM E-mail account and create your own digital to-do list super easily.

Pro Tip: I know, we don’t love e-mail; but make sure to block out time to check your UVM E-mail at least once a day to ensure you’re on top of the most recent updates from UVM and your professors. It’ll be the best way to stay in the loop.

 

walking

Take Some Study Breaks

Make time for breaks and use them to the fullest. Reward yourself for learning by treating yourself to something fun to refresh your brain. Go into a different room. Take a walk. Have a change of scenery, it’ll help refresh your brain. It might be tempting to immediately reach for your phone – but challenge yourself by trying to integrating some tech-free breaks in your day, too.

Cram sessions actually hinder your learning, so make sure you sip from the fountain of knowledge…not…whatever this kid is doing.

 

ariel shot of uvm campus

Get Help If You Need It!

It might feel like UVM is closed because we’re not there – but it’s very much open. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably a little stressed out by all the change and uncertainty, but UVM offices remain open and their staff is still available and eager to support you in any way they can.  From academic advising and tutoring to accommodations and identity-based support, there are many on-campus resources available to you remotely. Wondering if an office can help you? Send them an email, or give them a call!

Pro Tip:  Many offices are improvising how to bring the talks, sessions, and events you’re used to happening every week online.  Follow as many UVM accounts on social media as you can for updates on how they plan to adapt their services to work digitally.

 

girl with a camera on a phone

Consider Your Community

Self Isolation can feel…well…isolating! But there are so many digital tools available to help you stay motivated and engaged by connecting with your friends and classmates. Chat with folks in your class.  Start class discussions. Take what you’re learning and start a mini study group over Teams, chat, or facetime.  Try to connect with others who share similar interests, and establish a group routine. Remember that you are not alone – there’s a whole community out there excited to connect in a variety of ways.

 

xbox controller

Take care of Yourself

You know the drill. Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.  If you feel unwell, let your instructor know and contact your primary care provider to discuss your symptoms.  Remember that social isolation doesn’t mean you can’t leave the house – enjoy nice weather. Bask in the sun. Go for a run. Just be sure to continue to practice social distancing by staying 6ft away from non-household members whenever possible.

Play around with tools meant to help with your mental health, and be sure to connect with friends.  Laugh, cry, and commiserate about what’s happening in life.  Distance is between us, but it’s not insurmountable. Send a postcard to a pal. Practice sharing gratitude with those around you and focus on the positive things happening in your world.

Some other things you could try:

  • Stretching
  • Calling a friend
  • Taking a short walk
  • Meditating
  • Working on a favorite hobby
  • Listening to music or a podcast
  • Play a video game with a friend

 

Have any other tips we should add? Shout them out in the comments below – and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date on all that’s happening to keep you connected.