Remote Learning Student Resources
The Student Resources page includes information about learning effectively while engaging in remote instruction and accessing tech tools and tips. While this journey on “Remote Learning” is still new, every university and all of their students are on the same path. In fact, many workplaces and careers already feature “Virtual Collaboration,” so in some ways, remote learning is an opportunity to prepare for futures beyond the undergraduate experience.
- 1 ORGANIZE AND MANAGE YOUR TIME
As we begin, it’s important to consider that taking three or four courses remotely is far different from taking a single online or hybrid course amongst other traditional face-to-face courses. This will likely be more challenging than you anticipate, since the usual structures that anchor your day (i.e., in person lectures, on-campus work, exercise at the gym, etc.) will not be in place during remote learning. We all need structure. You need to impose structure in your life in order to maximize your learning. You might start by reflecting on when, where, and how will you learn and study?
You want to manage your time, eliminate distractions, and limit social media. It may benefit you to keep the same course schedule as you would if you were attending face-to-face lectures, discussions, and labs. For example, if one of your course lectures is scheduled for Monday/Wednesday from 9:00 – 10:50, then keep that schedule. Whether the lectures are live or not, you can still watch recorded videos or do the readings for that class during that same time period. Sticking to such a traditional schedule helps you maintain a familiar pace of learning. You’ve already committed to these times when you registered for these courses, so try to adhere to them.
You might organize the whole quarter by reading through your syllabi and mapping out all your assignments (e.g., papers, exams, presentations, group projects) and their due dates onto a one-page Quarter Calendar (fillable pdf) designed by the Success Coaching and Learning Strategies team at UC Davis. This helps you visualize the entire quarter at one glance, and you can quickly determine the weeks that will require a lighter versus a heavier workload. You might also block out a Weekly Schedule (fillable pdf) and make a study plan with dedicated study blocks. Remember, there is a difference between "class time" (time spent in lectures, discussions, or labs) and "study time" (time spent preparing for class or doing homework). In Remote Learning you need to schedule blocks of time for both of these types of activities.
Lastly, you should consider your learning environment. It is best to create a regular and quiet study space (which may be different places from class to class or morning to afternoon). Such a dedicated study space (or spaces) and routine serve as a type of structure that is otherwise absent.
- 2 CHECK YOUR TECH
While you are all familiar with Canvas by now, your Remote Learning relies more heavily on technology than in prior quarters. Ensure that you have access to a device and the necessary software required to learn. Here are instructions if you need to access library resources using the VPN. Also, check for adequate internet connectivity in all of your dedicated study locations, if possible. If you find that your internet access is spotty in certain locations, some of your course content in Canvas might be downloadable for viewing offline. This resource, ”How do I download a single file as a student?”, can help you figure out how to download available content. Next, check technical requirements for browsers and plug-ins. This resource, Strategies for Online Learning, might help inform your preparation.
Once you review your syllabi, log into all tools required by each course to ensure access. Be sure you know how to use online resources that your courses are likely to use, such as Zoom, Canvas, and the Google suite. It is likely that many of your courses will use Zoom for live class sessions or office hours. Please review this Zoom Guide for Students and this How to Use Zoom at UC Davis video (your instructor/course might use Zoom differently from what is shown in the video). If needed, ensure that you have access and accommodations through the Student Disability Center. Lastly, you should consider adhering to general netiquette expectations. For example, during video conferencing, be sure you are dressed appropriately and have your microphone muted so as not to interfere with teaching and learning. Here are a few simple steps for Zoom Etiquette for participants.
- 3 COMMUNICATE
In Remote Learning, it is critical that you intentionally connect with your Professors and TAs. Attend virtual office hours and ask questions early and often. It is vital that you communicate early with your instructors if you are struggling due to illness, family responsibilities, or financial challenges. You don't necessarily have to share details, but give them an opportunity to help support you during this difficult time. They too face their own challenges, so they will likely understand.
If needed, communicate with the Student Disability Center and instructor regarding your accommodations. As well, if captions are not being provided in the video for any of your courses, ask via email for captions to be enabled.
Interacting with classmates is also different during Remote Learning. How will you engage in discussion forums? How will you actively participate via chat, break out rooms, google docs, etc.? Beyond what is required in courses, you might also consider participating in online study groups or joining a study team. How will you work in groups or teams? Establish ways to leverage and connect to your network beyond classmates, such as with friends, roommates, or family.
- 4 ACTIVELY LEARN AND STUDY
Learning well remotely requires you to actively and intentionally engage in your learning. This means that you do more than just passively watch videos or lecture capture or just passively highlight while reading. Instead, mentally engage in both your note-taking and reading. Research shows that learning is a science (watch this video). Specific evidence-based strategies, include:
- Retrieval Practice (see video) involves actively calling information to mind from memory.
- Interleaving (see video) involves intermixing types of problems and topics.
- Spaced Learning (see video) involves learning a topic over multiple spaced sessions.
- Explanatory Questioning / Elaborating (see video) involves answering “why” questions or explaining and/or justifying “why”answers or ideas are accurate.
You can read more about these strategies in this handout, Learning Strategies 101. After reading and watching about these strategies, reflect on how you can apply them to each of your classes. For more videos and handouts to help you actively engage in your assignments, readings, and note-taking:
• Understanding Assignments (video)
• Reading Scientific Articles (video)
• Previewing Readings (handout)
• Writing and Citing (handout)
• Using Concrete Examples (video)
• Dual Coding (video)
• Outlining (video)
• Taking Notes (video)
• Taking Notes - Live Lectures (handout)
• Taking Notes - Pre-Recorded Lectures (handout)
• Taking Notes - Readings (handout)
• Studying for Exams (handout)
• Preparing for Open-Book Tests (handout)
- 5 REFLECT AND REFOCUS
Once you’ve settled into all your courses and have developed a plan for engaging with your course material, it helps to monitor how well you are “working your plan.” In other words, how well are you sticking to the time schedules you designed for yourself and may have communicated to others? It may benefit you to take some time at the end of each week to reflect and consider these questions:
- What worked well for you this week?
- In which courses do you feel more confident in terms of remote learning? Why do you think this is?
- What didn’t work well for you this week?
- What are some minor adjustments you can make so that you find more success next week?
- How will you implement this change?
- What kind of support (from a TA, a professor, a classmate, a family member, or a Success Coach) do you need?
Reflecting on and monitoring your own learning and studying helps you regulate your behavior and form good work habits. This type of thinking can help you be successful throughout the quarter. Self-regulation and resiliency are skills you can develop that will help you beyond this quarter and into the workforce. See this TED Talk about Grit.
Health & Well-being: During uncertain times as these, your mental and physical well-being must also be maintained, as they can also have an impact on your academic performance. This website can help students avoid common pitfalls, improve academic performance, manage stress and time effectively, and find relevant resources. This resource is specifically designed to help students manage anxiety around COVID-19. Use this Campus Resource Guide to connect with UCD organizations that can support, such as the Student Health and Counseling Center, Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center, or Services for International Students and Scholars.
Success Coaching: The Success Coaching and Learning Strategies team designed some downloadable resources and will offer its services online. Success Workshops are live webinars around such topics as Communicating with Professors, Focus and Concentration, and Task Management. If you can’t make it to an online workshop, but instead want one-on-one support, meet with a Success Coach to discuss any of the workshop topics described on their site. Coaches can support you through this journey of Remote Learning. Appointments are held via Zoom or over the phone. Schedule an appointment through the Advising Appointment System.
Academic Assistance and Tutoring Center: Online Drop-in Tutoring provides academic support to undergraduate students enrolled in Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, and Writing Across the Disciplines. The professional instructional staff offer classes, workshops and office hours.
Student-to-Student Advice: UC Davis senior Orey Aderibigbe's Six Tips to Get Through Remote Classes.
UC Davis Library: In addition to offering valued online resources like free access to the NYTimes.com, the library is working to ensure that students can get librarian support, ebooks, course materials, research access, streaming film and music services, and other resources remotely. There are also resources for helping students with research with class assignments and projects.