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Online Academic Success Guide

Vols – you got this!

And, we’re here to support you. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips as you begin your online journey. Vols help Vols. We’re in this together as a Volunteer Family. In this guide, you’ll find tips on:

  • Time Management
  • Navigating Online Classes
  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Staying Focused
  • Study Habits

Time Management

You will still have a similar amount of classwork and needed study time, just without the formal classroom and campus setting. 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 as if you were attending in person. 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 Online 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.

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.

Communication

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.

Organization

Create a folder on your desktop for each class. Download the syllabi, 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.

Additional Technology Resources

Many of your professors will be utilizing Zoom to engage with students and deliver online content. Download the app or sign up for free at tennessee.zoom.us.

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!

The VolShop has partnered with the University’s digital course materials platform to offer free eBook access for students who may have lost access to course materials in the rapid move to online learning. Visit the Vol Shop website for details.