Until further notice, the Faculty's Learning Strategist's drop-in hours are cancelled.
To virtually connect with an Academic Success learning strategist please book an appointment through the Career & Co-Curricular Learning Network (CLNx).
When booking an appointment with a learning strategist, consider the following options:
- Learning from home themed discussions: talk to a learning strategist and fellow students about ways to learn from home. Discuss time management, focus and procrastination, writer’s block and take-home exam preparation. Details are available upon registration.
- One-to-one appointments: connect with a learning strategist in a one-to-one setting online or by phone. New appointments will be added daily.
Online Learning Tips
Transitioning to a new work routine will mean that you have to get yourself in the right space virtually, physically and mentally. Set yourself up for success virtually by ensuring that you have access to as reliable of an internet connection as possible. If you do not have a reliable internet connection, please let your academic advisor know. Another important thing to do is to figure out where all your work is located online, when and where lectures will be released and get connected to any peer discussion groups that have formed.
Having a physical space to work at, other than your bed, is a great idea so your body doesn’t confuse your awake and working times with your resting times. If the only spaces available in your home are shared with others, be sure to communicate your needs and the ways you wish to share the space.
You can try to get into the right space mentally by finding ways to mitigate and cope with stress. This will allow you to be more successful academically and make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Things that you can do to support yourself (adapted from the CDC, 2020):
- Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media.
- Take care of your body. Continue to take care of yourself by getting out of your pyjamas, eating nutritious food, drinking water and getting adequate sleep. Take deep breaths, go outside for a walk, stretch, or meditate if these are things that feel helpful.
- As you study, take breaks with the activities that you enjoy doing (perhaps in a modified way).
- Remember to connect with others. Arrange online “dates” with friends to catch up, share your concerns, and to listen/validate each other’s feelings.
If stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row consider chatting with the folks at My SSP, Good2Talk, Health & Wellness or your healthcare provider.
It can now feel like you are only accountable to yourself and for this reason it can be much easier to put off “going to class,” completing your assignments, getting out of your pyjamas and sticking to a consistent sleep/wake schedule.
One way to counter this is to make a schedule and stick to it. Determine when you are the most motivated and productive and schedule around these times. If possible, we also recommend attending your classes at their scheduled times to avoid falling behind on lectures.
Map out what your next three weeks might look like — schedule in your classes, upcoming assignments and the milestones you need to reach. Closer to final assessments, schedule in time to study. Stay updated on class announcements and emails, schedule in your regular morning routine and don’t forget to schedule breaks throughout your day.
Learning from livestream and pre-recorded lectures might be more challenging and may take time to adjust to. If you are finding that you are not able to grasp the materials in the same way, you may want to consider previewing the lecture content ahead.
To do this, you may consider reading the assigned textbook section and the lecture notes or doing a picture walk (reading the titles and subtitles, reviewing pictures and their captions, becoming familiar with the bolded text, reading the chapter summary and objectives) if you are short on time. If you do not have assigned textbook sections or access to the lecture notes ahead of your lectures, consider attempting the affiliated questions found in your problem sets, past midterms and past exams. Previewing in these ways can improve your comprehension of the lecture content when it is presented.
Participating in your online classes will feel different than when you were attending them in-person. During a lecture, put your phone on airplane mode, so you won’t be distracted by notifications. Continue to take notes; however, this practice may need to be modified since you might have more windows and apps open on your desktop than you are used to. Consider switching to handwritten notes if needed. When a professor poses questions in your online lecture consider the possible answers and engage your mind in the content rather than passively watching your screen.
Continue to participate in your online discussions. Now that you are working from your home, it won’t be as easy to turn to the person next to you to seek clarification. However, you can try to simulate that experience by creating smaller online discussion groups with your peers so that after you watch a lecture, you can “turn to them” for clarification. In this same way, shared online documents may be helpful for small groups of peers to collectively note-take in a single document to ensure there is clarity on the concept while a lecture is being streamed.
These strategies may also help to hold your and your peers accountable to keeping up with the lectures as well.
After a class, be sure to do a quick re-read of the notes that you made to determine which concepts you are still unsure about. When you identify something that needs more clarity, dive into those concepts using your textbooks and online sources. If you still need clarification, ask for help. Asking for help is a strength. It shows that you are aware of what you know, and what you don’t know. By asking for help you can learn how to grasp difficult concepts and overcome challenging problems. Consider using online forums, asking a classmate through your course discussion boards and peer groups, GEARS, tutors or reaching out to your instructor. By asking your question, you might even be doing someone else in the class a favour since they might need clarification as well.
Some of your questions might not fall into the academic realm, and it’s also important to ask these questions as well. If you find that you are feeling less motivated, overwhelmed, nervous or upset, these are also great reasons to reach out for additional supports. For these, your family, peers, My SSP, Good2TALK, Health & Wellness, academic advisor, Faculty learning strategist and the Assistant Registrar of Scholarships & Financial Aid are also available to provide guidance and support. The transition to online learning and social distancing will come with its challenges, but we are all here to help.
You can schedule an appointment with your academic advisor, Faculty learning strategist or the Assistant Registrar of Scholarships & Financial Aid through the Engineering Advising Portal in the Engineering Portal.