- Communication Tips
- Complete Online Classwork
- Set Up a Learning Space
- Time Management
- Test-Taking Tips
- Helpful Tips
As you make the transition to an online class, it’s vital that you keep lines of communication open with your instructors and classmates.
Here are some tips that will ensure you get the latest information for your online course:
- Check Your Email: Check your UNCG email at least twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening). Ideally, you should check it as often as you can.
- Check Your Canvas Notifications: Monitor your Canvas announcements throughout the day. Learn how to change your Canvas notification preferences.
- Sync Your University Email To Your Phone: If you’re going to be away from your computer, consider routing your University communications to your mobile device.
- Review Your Instructor’s Communication Policy: Refer to your course syllabus to find your instructor’s email address, phone number, and best way to reach them.
Here are some tips regarding online etiquette and expression:
- Be Respectful of Your Instructors and Classmates: When engaging in an online format, you must maintain a high level of professionalism. If you disagree with a classmate, please be respectful. Refrain from using inappropriate humor. Be considerate of your classmates’ privacy.
- Proofread, Spell Check, and Cite Your Sources: Before posting in an online forum, be sure your work does not contain typos, spelling errors, or grammar errors. Also, be sure to cite the sources for any material that is not your own work. To avoid plagiarism, make a bibliography, an in-text citation, or link out to an external website.
- Be Involved: When working online, do not be afraid to participate. Ask questions, interact with your classmates, and share your ideas. The more you contribute, the better the class will be!
Complete Online Classwork
An online class is different from face-to-face learning. Luckily, nearly everything you do in a physical classroom environment has an online equivalent.
Here are answers to questions you may have about how to complete your online classwork:
- What kind of content will make up my online course? Instead of being physically present in the classroom with your instructor, you’ll be asked to watch videos, read a textbook or a series of articles, and/or listen to podcasts, interact with web apps, timelines, role plays, and simulations.
- How will online content be delivered? Course materials will be delivered through Canvas, our University’s Learning Management System. If you have questions about how to use Canvas, refer to the Canvas Student Guide.
- Will I have scheduled class times? Your course activities may be asynchronous, meaning you won’t meet at a scheduled time with peers and your instructor, or synchronous, meaning you meet at a scheduled time over a predetermined platform. Asynchronous conversations with peers and your instructor may take place over Canvas Discussions, comments on Google Documents, Canvas Studio, or Canvas Collaborations. Synchronous conversations may take place over Zoom, Google Meet, or Canvas Conferences. Refer to your instructor and syllabus for instructions on asynchronous or synchronous delivery methods for your specific courses. And, be sure your learning space is set up for video conferencing.
- How do I complete my assignments? Your instructor will direct you to complete assignments through Canvas or by other means like email. Stay in communication with your instructor to ensure you know the expectations for how to turn in your work. You can find tips for completing assignments in Canvas in the Student Guide.
- How do I complete quizzes or exams? Quizzes and exams can be delivered through Canvas. You can find tips for completing Canvas quizzes and exams in the Student Guide. Your instructor will notify you if you need to arrange for proctoring services.
- How do I complete group work? You can meet with a group of classmates through online conferencing technology such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Canvas Conferences.
- How do I attend office hours? Your instructor may hold virtual office hours or be available by phone or email. Be prepared to communicate with your instructor through a platform like Google Calendar, Google Meet, or Zoom.
- How do I complete a presentation? An online meeting space like Zoom or Google Meet can allow you to present in real time to your classmates. If you need to record yourself giving a presentation, you have a personal YouTube channel through your @uncg.edu account. You can also use Canvas Studio to record yourself or your computer screen while in Canvas.
- How do I record audio and video? Recording audio and/or video for presentations, discussions, or other assignments requires some basic preparations to ensure everything goes off without a hitch. Check out these tips for creating audio and creating video at home.
Set Up a Learning Space
As an online student, your classroom is wherever you make it. But not all learning spaces are created equal. Consider what you can do to make your environment conducive to learning:
- Prepare Your Space: Find a space in your home or workplace that you can consistently use as your study area. When you enter this space, commit to focusing solely on your coursework. If you need room to spread out books or other materials, set up a clean table or desk. Make sure you can access reliable high-speed internet. Check that you have charging ports or electrical outlets in close reach. Ensure that you have adequate lighting.
- Minimize Distractions: Deal with the distractions you can control to eliminate as many interruptions as possible. Turn off your phone or disable notifications, reduce background noise, and let your family and friends know that you’re going into study mode. Make your coursework your top priority.
- Be Comfortable: Consider the ergonomics of your space. Is your seating area—a chair, couch, beanbag, etc.—physically supportive? Can you easily reach your keyboard or mouse? You’ll benefit from a space that is quiet and comfortable.
- Organize Your Space: Develop an organizational system that helps you find what you need, when you need it. Declutter your learning area so you can focus on your coursework, not on where that missing pen rolled off to.
- Gather Supplies: Set up your laptop, desktop, or mobile device that you’ll be using to access your online course. Prepare a pen and paper or digital tool like Google Documents or Microsoft Word for taking notes. Pour yourself a glass of water, grab a snack, and get to work!
Balancing your academic and other responsibilities is critical to your success as an online student. Manage your time wisely by planning your schedule and setting priorities.
Here are strategies for how to figure out what needs to be done now and what can wait:
- Make a Schedule: Create a personal calendar and set aside time to commit to classwork. Review and follow your schedule every day to make sure you stay on top of engaging with course materials and working on assignments.
- Make a To-Do List: Whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly, a to-do list will help you stay organized.
- Prepare Early: Planning your schedule as soon as possible will help you anticipate and avoid scheduling conflicts in the future.
- Refer to Your Syllabus: Follow all due dates for assessments laid out in your syllabus. Also regularly check your UNCG email and Canvas Announcements to make sure you don’t miss any important updates from your instructor.
- Complete One Activity at a Time: You can’t do everything at once. Divide larger and more time-intensive tasks into smaller pieces. Prioritize your responsibilities to make sure you complete everything before it’s due.
- Don’t Procrastinate: Procrastination leads to missed deadlines and greater stress. Avoid setbacks by giving yourself the motivation you need to complete your work on time.
- Take Time For Yourself: As an online student, you’ll balance school, family, work, and more. Taking care of your physical and mental health can help your academic performance. As you build out your schedule, work in regular exercise, healthy meals, and rest.
Taking an online exam requires all the same study preparations as an in-person exam along with a few logistical ones.
- Review test guidelines and format. Review your course syllabus and create a calendar event in Google Calendar, Canvas Calendar, or in a paper planner. Title it with the name of the course and type of test, select the day, time, and duration of the exam, set reminders as necessary, include the location (e.g. Canvas, Respondus Monitor, Zoom, etc.), and add the remaining details of the exam in the description including links to study notes, your instructor’s email address, and, if possible, a link to the actual exam. If you don’t know where to find exam information check your syllabus or calendar, or send your instructor an email. Ask your instructor specifically which materials you can and cannot use for the exam.
- Study. Preparing for your exam begins on day one of the course. Use your course calendar and syllabus to plan out your semester. As you read course materials do so for comprehension by quizzing yourself, highlighting materials, taking notes, or even re-reading. As you near exam day, use your notes to create reference sheets with charts, tables, or diagrams as a way to organize your ideas and make information readily available to you. Whenever possible, take a practice exam with a classmate or within a study group. Still need help with studying? Reach out to the Academic Achievement Center and talk with one of their academic specialists.
- Set up your testing environment. Follow the above suggestions for setting up your learning space, then prep it for your exam. Choose a place where you will likely have a stable Internet connection. If your test will be proctored, ensure your face and testing area are clearly visible and well-lit. Gather any materials you need and are allowed to use during the test, put a clock on your desk so you can keep up with the time, write down the contact information for your instructor and 6-TECH, grab some water and a snack, and post a sign on your door and/or lock it to let people know you are testing.
- Ready your technology. The day before your exam make sure your computer is updated to include the most recent version of your operating system and web browser, ensure you’ve installed any software necessary to complete the exam, and…most importantly, create a backup plan if your computer goes bonkers or your Internet connection fails. Thirty minutes before your exam plug in and power up your computer, check your Internet connection, close out everything unrelated to your exam, and silence your mobile devices.
- Plan for issues. Before your test, make sure you have your instructor’s contact information handy. As you take your test (and if allowed) keep a record of your responses on a scrap piece of paper or a Word document in the event your computer or Internet connection goes on the fritz. If an issue does arise, notify your instructor immediately. If it’s a technical problem related to UNCG-supported software, contact 6-TECH while you wait for your instructor to respond.
- Double check your work. Before you click “Submit” review your test to ensure you’ve answered every question. And, once you do click “Submit” make sure your submission has been accepted before closing out your browser.
- Check out some other tips. Read over these helpful docs on Test Errors and Test-Taking Strategies from the UNCG Academic Achievement Center and watch this short video from College Info Geek on study tips to help you as you prep for your next exam.
- Comply with the Academic Integrity Policy: Respect the values of academic integrity: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. You are accountable for your actions as an online student, just as you are in a face to face class.
- Save Your Work Often: When working online, things like power outages and poor internet connections can cause you to lose work. To avoid this scenario, save your work often. You may also consider using a thumb drive or a cloud service.
- Ask for Help: If you don’t understand something, please don’t wait to reach out to your instructor for an answer. Call or email as soon as a problem arises.
- Be Diligent: Closely monitor all communications from the University and instructors for relevant updates.
- Be Calm and Patient: UNCG is using all its resources to ensure your safety. You may have a lot of questions and concerns at this time. If you can’t find answers immediately, please patiently wait as UNCG officials continue to process information, organize, and create action plans.