Almost all students are participating in remote learning, usually on Zoom, even while fully on campus. Logging in to online class and seeing a close-up of your professor and other classmates is strange but neccesary because of the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some tips for adjusting to this new version of education.
Find a Good Location
Staying focused on a class happening on a tiny screen can be difficult. Everyone learns in separate spaces now instead of specific classrooms. If other things are happening in your learning space while you attend class, you may not retain all the information you need. Make sure to find a place to attend Zoom classes that is not distracting and has a good network connection. This can be in a dorm room or any of the spaces set up around campus, such as in the library, lounges, and computer labs. The library has spaces set up for commuter students that can be reserved here. If a wireless network connection is not reliable in a certain location, the IT department recommends using a wired ethernet connection. Without a reliable connection, you may miss important pieces of information during class or fail to participate.
In a normal classroom setting, you would see all your peers during class. To preserve the interaction of an in-person class, everyone’s video must be turned on. Otherwise, all we see are black screens and a name. If you can, turn on your camera as a courtesy to others. Also, you would not see yourself during class. It can be distracting and bring your attention away from the material. Try turning it off. You can do this by right-clicking your viewing window and choosing “hide self-view.”
Make sure to take breaks, especially if you have more than one remote class in a row. Otherwise, you might feel burn-out or end up stuck for several hours. Sitting in one position for long periods of time can cause headaches and back pain. Get up and walk around or stretch. Sit back from your desk as much as possible. This should limit any neck, back, or shoulder pain, as well as tension headaches. Eye strain from looking at a small screen all day can contribute to fatigue and headaches. Stay off your computer or phone for a bit to help with this. Wearing glasses with blue-light blocking lenses also helps protect your eyes.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help!
Because of the way Zoom functions, class cannot run as usual. The professor may not be able to see every student’s face at one time or tell who has a question. This can make it hard to chime in and join a discussion. Nevertheless, make sure to ask any questions you have. Some professors will stay on the call after dismissing class specifically for this reason, and all of them are available during their office hours. Reach out if you are struggling. All resources like the Academic Skills Center and the Writing Center are also available online.
Most importantly, stay safe! Make sure to wear a mask, use hand sanitizer, and keep an eye on your mental health. Good luck with the semester!