Adjusting to online classes

With classes transitioning to online, students and faculty have had to adjust to the change in routine and the way classes are conducted.

“A lot of them may have been stressed out because they didn't, they were unsure of how things were going to go,” Patrick Bohn, assistant director of the Texas Tech Learning Center, said. “But at the same time, I promise you, there's a lot of faculty in the same boat who, you know, who's taught in-person classes for 20, 30 years, now suddenly have to go online and teach, and that's not necessarily a method that they're comfortable with either."

Finding a designated study space also can help keep one’s mind focus on doing classwork, Bohn said. Also, practicing the same habits of avoiding distractions while in class or studying can help.

“Being active in the moment and telling yourself even if I'm watching the video at a different time than my class would normally be, psych yourself up to say, ‘This is what my full attention goes to,’” Bohn said. “Because as soon as you start allowing yourself a little bit of room to wander, then there's a good chance that it will fall apart. So, you basically just have to treat it as if it were a face-to-face class.”

In addition to treating class like it is face-to-face, Charles Crews, assistant professor of educational psychology and leadership, said another important thing to do is to find out when one’s golden hours are.

“Like, what day, what time during the day can you do your best work?” Crews said. “(Does your) your body feels good, your mind feels good, you're ready to stay focused on something and then rebound. You work your classwork around those times.”

Usually people have around an hour and a half to two hours, but it can be built up over long periods of time, Crews said. Scheduling breaks in between these pockets of intense focus also can help students focus better.

The most important part of the transition is to communicate with one’s professors, Crews said.

“You have to be very succinct, to the point, and if you have a question, tell them exactly what that question is,” he said. “If you're having trouble on an essay test or an assignment, then specifically what part of that assignment you're having trouble with? You need to be very specific, but also very distinct and polite as well because they're getting hammered with emails right now.”

In addition to professors, programs around campus, such as the University Writing Center, still are operating online, Sava Kolev, assistant director of the Writing Center, said.

“We offer face-to-face appointments in the sense of students can connect with a tutor and talk real-time about their writing, about a paper or ideas with the difference that is not happening with the students being right next to each other in a tutoring room," Kolev said.

The Writing Center also offers an option of students to send in their papers online and then getting the paper back with comments, he said.

Another aspect of transitioning to online is students taking not of things they may be finding emotionally difficult and reaching out to places, such as the Student Counseling Center and other places with online support groups, Crews said.

“Look at anxiety and relaxation things,” Crews said. “Maybe pick up one of the online I noticed, cheesy to say, but one of the online yoga stretching videos, they're only like three minutes long, five minutes long. It can help to put your body in a way that you're releasing anxiety because the anxiety is just not about academic, it's also about everything else."

Taking the time to check in with friends and to socialize can also help with the transition, Crews said.

Even though the semester and the shift to online may not have been the outcome students wanted, Bohn said there still is opportunity to learn.

“They have to adapt. This goes carries on into life after school and outside of academics, you can have the best laid plans for anything,” Bohn said. “But you also have to know that sometimes that's going to change, and you have to be willing and able to adapt.”

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