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Remote Learning Strategies

Remote learning requires some additional strategizing — and we can help! See below for tools and techniques.

Make video lectures work for you

Watching a video lecture doesn’t need to be a passive experience. Make it your own by interacting with it and making use of it in the way that works best for you. Take notes to help yourself stay engaged, and note points that are confusing so that you can follow up on them later. If you are watching a recorded video, consider watching it in chunks, pausing every 10-15 minutes to review notes and connect the content to other course materials. If there is a chat function, post your questions or points of confusion. It’s highly likely that others have the same questions!

Find your comfort zone in remote discussions

Different students have different preferences and comfort levels in live discussion, and it’s no different in the remote environment. Try to stretch a little beyond your natural state. If you’re somebody who tends to contribute very actively, continue to engage, but pull back a little to allow others to contribute. And if you normally tend to listen actively and speak less, look for places where you can contribute your thoughts. Starting in the chat can be an easy way to warm up, and then speak later when you feel more comfortable. Taking a few notes before you contribute can help you feel more confident when you do. Support your classmates, and know that while some people feel at ease in online discussions, others may find it anxiety-producing. Offering a quick thumbs-up or “Interesting point!” can make a difference for a fellow student.

Be a good online citizen

Help out your fellow students!  Some things to keep in mind:

  • Give the class session your focus. It’s hard to stay present in a remote session when other electronics are distracting you. Closing other tabs, turning off notifications, and putting your phone face-down or in another room will help you keep your attention on the class or meeting.
  • Use good online etiquette, like avoiding all caps and lots of exclamation marks, using emojis to show good intent, and never putting anybody down.
  • Participate in class chats with on-point ideas, demonstrate respect for others' contributions, and offer encouragement for classmates.
  • Be a little more explicit about your meaning or intent than you might usually be, since people may not be able to read your nonverbals as easily. For example, if you mean something in an ironic way, make that clear.
  • Embrace silence. Silence can feel awkward, but it’s often more necessary in the remote environment, because people may be reading and processing while they’re engaged. Allow those silences to happen, and know that they are productive.
  • Show patience and support for your classmates (and your instructor!).

Reach out

Remote learning means you're physically separated, so it's important to connect. Try to take whatever opportunities you can to stay in touch with your instructors, TAs, advisors, and peers. Reach out to your professor directly with a question. Attend in-person or virtual office hours. Set up an advising appointment. If you’d like to talk with somebody about your study strategies or academic work, sign up for a virtual consultation with ASLA.