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Vol Success Tips


Show Up & Show Out

It’s your responsibility as a student to show up and show out by:

  • showing up for classes
  • engaging with faculty
  • completing coursework

We’re here to support you along the way. Reach out if you have questions, and use the following helpful tips for academic success. 

Time Management

A set schedule can help provide structure and keep you motivated.

  • Create a weekly & daily calendar to organize your course schedule, study time, and free time. Check out this example calendar for you to use!
  • Log-in daily and follow your course schedule. Add study time to your calendar for each course.
  • Keep up with the course content. Don’t let lectures or course content stack-up, which can cause you to become overwhelmed.
  • Set a schedule that plays to your strengths! If you’re a morning person, schedule your coursework and study time in the AM. Make sure you build in time for breaks, meals, and plenty of rest.

Navigating Classes

Understand how your instructors are going to deliver course content. Each instructor may use different tools, so spend some time getting comfortable with the new learning environment.

What do the different course formats mean?

Face-to-face – Some courses are still fully in-person and will list a physical building and room number on your schedule. Unless your instructor informs you otherwise, you will meet at that location during the scheduled time.

Hybrid – This course format means your class will be a blend of face-to-face and online instruction. The format could include:

  • A mixture of in-person and online classes
  • Students could be assigned by group, with groups rotating when they attend class in-person or online
  • Classes could be online, with labs meeting in-person
  • A mixture of synchronous (at a certain time) and asynchronous (at your own pace) for the online portion
  • A different combination chosen by the instructor

Online-As Shown – These courses are fully online on the schedule day, at the scheduled time. Also known as online synchronous.

Online-Flexible – This format is fully online with assignments and group work completed on your own schedule with assigned deadlines. Also known as online asynchronous.

Will your course be synchronous or asynchronous?

Synchronous – There is “virtual class time.” Similar to attending class in-person, all students see, hear, and engage with each other at the same time online.

Asynchronous – Learning takes place at different times. Instructors will create and distribute content (video lectures, PowerPoints, assignments, etc.) ahead of time. They may ask students to engage in discussion boards or group chats as part of course requirements.


Check Canvas and Email Regularly: all correspondence will be completed virtually. Check your email and Canvas daily for updates from faculty and administration.

Communicate potential challenges early! Example – If you are in a different time zone, email your instructor and inform them of the time difference.

Attend online Office Hours with your instructor to ask questions, discuss course content, or seek guidance.

Need Help? We’re here for you! The Academic Success Center provides virtual tutoring and academic coaching.


Create a folder on your desktop for each class. Download the syllabus, assignments, and any other course documents and put them in the individual class folder.

Label each folder with your class name. EX: MATH130

Create a daily To-Do List to manage and prioritize tasks and deadlines. Work backward from your professor’s due dates and create daily tasks that keep you on schedule.

Staying Focused

Find a designated work area free from distractions that allows you to focus.

Close distracting tabs and programs that may shift your focus away from the designated task.

Put your cell phone away during class and study time. Give yourself technology breaks throughout the day to catch up on texts and social media.

Study Habits

Maintain your good academic habits & create new ones. Recreate your favorite study routine at home–curl up in an arm chair, enjoy a cup of coffee, or turn on your favorite study music.

1. Take notes – even if your instructor provides lecture notes! The more time you put into preparing strong notes, the better prepared you’ll be for exams.

2. Watch recordings at normal speed and remember that you can pause &

re-watch sections of pre-recorded videos and lectures to make sure you master the content.

3. Avoid multi-tasking. Trying to do multiple things at once takes focus away from being great at each unique task.

4. Stay focused on the task for at least 30-45 minutes (set a timer) and then reward yourself with a 10-minute cell phone or social media break.

5. If you study better in groups, schedule a study group on Zoom or Skype with classmates or friends. Stay connected to other Vols with GroupMe, Google Hangout, and other platforms.

Technology Resources

With new class modalities, technology is more important than ever. Many of your professors are using a variety of applications and technology to engage with students and deliver content. Understanding how to use the technology your professors have chosen sets you up for success.

Worried about accessing course content because you don’t have a laptop or internet access? Request technology from the Office of Information Technology and have it shipped directly to you by filling out this form. The University has purchased over 700 laptops and hotspots for students to check out!