Tips for Online Classroom Success
Advice from your SJR State professors
by Penny Powell
Today marks the day that many of you will be entering the online classroom for the first time. We realize that you may be feeling nervous and confused about this unexpected shift in your academic journey during these uncertain times. However, we remain dedicated to helping you achieve classroom success, moving you one step closer to your degree and career goals.
In the words of President Joe Pickens, "SJR State is at our very best when we all work together toward a common goal. Our job as a college community is to do just that for the benefit of our students and the communities we serve. Never underestimate the power of the College’s message to our communities that 'we are here for them,' even in the midst of these most trying circumstances."
SJR State students, please remember that you are not alone. We care about you and are here for you. We want nothing more than for you to be healthy and successful, both in and outside of the classroom. Therefore, we reached out to your professors to learn their best tips for assisting you with navigating the online classroom and establishing success within it. The most popular piece of advice your professors have for you is to:
"Be proactive in your communication," says Dr. Melissa Perry, education professor and director of Adult Education. "It is about communicating - asking questions of the professor as well as letting your professor know your situation."
Melody Corso, director of the BSN program, who teaches nursing and nutrition, agrees. "Communicate with your instructor often. When in doubt, ASK!" she emphasizes.
According to accounting and business professor Terry Thomas, "It is very important to communicate with your professor and classmates. Effective communication builds relationships and creates a positive learning environment."
St. Augustine campus librarian and college success professor Royce Bass adds, "Communication, communication, communication!"
Take a deep breath - inhale the word "communicate" - relax and spend a few minutes reading these additional beneficial tips from your online professors.
LOG IN TO CANVAS DAILY, STICK TO A ROUTINE
Corso also had this to say, "Log in to Canvas every day to check for announcements, since this is new for many of you. Keep to your routine as much as possible, and schedule time for school just like you are still attending classes. Use that time for schoolwork."
ESTABLISH GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT, PLAY AROUND WITH CANVAS
English and creative writing professor Melody Hargraves says, "Since we are transitioning face-to-face classes to an online format, you might find it easiest to do your work for each class when it would normally meet. I find with online classes that time management is a key issue. I always tell my online students to set up a routine and do their work the same time everyday. Don't wait until the last minute to complete assignments.
"You should be prepared to spend one to two hours per day on each class, depending on assignments," Hargraves continues. "I provide a 'To Do' list each week; I suggest that you print it off and check off items as you complete them. This helps with keeping track and getting the work done. Having a regular routine/schedule is key!
"Also," Hargraves adds "I tell my online students to play around with the course on Canvas to become familiar with how it works. You won't break anything!"
CREATE A WORKSPACE
Mathematics professor Traci Reed says, "Have a designated time and place to work. The schedule may vary each day depending on your family schedule, but having that work space will help you be more productive."
KEEP A PLANNER
Bass says, "Have a plan to succeed. Keep a planner of short-term and long-term things that are due. Know what assignment you are going to work on before you log in."
ALLOW EXTRA TIME FOR SUBMITTING ASSIGNMENTS; USE A DIFFERENT BROWSER (IF NECESSARY)
Psychology professor Dr. Morgan Barnett says, "Keep up with the assigned reading, and don't wait until the last minute to turn in assignments. Give yourself a couple hours (at least) in case an unexpected problem occurs; Internet and computer issues are the two most common ones. If there is an issue with something not working right, try using a different browser. Chrome and Firefox tend to work the best."
USE THE ONLINE LIBRARY
Dean of Learning Resources and education professor Dr. Christina Will says, "Even though the campuses are closed, the Library’s virtual branch is open. Students can access eBooks, articles and streaming videos online 24/7. If you need help, a librarian will be online weekdays during business hours to help via chat and more. Visit https://learningresources.sjrstate.edu/library."
Director of Dual Enrollment and College Access Meghan Deputy, who teaches college success, says, "Do not be afraid to ask questions. Typically, if you don’t know something, there are a lot of other students in the course who don’t know the answer, either."
BE SPECIFIC, PATIENT AND POLITE
English professor Jeannine Morgan says, "Be specific when asking questions - include your name, the class name, the specific assignment name, etc. Schedule specific times each day for classes, check for messages daily, and be patient and polite."
LEARN HOW TO EMBED AUDIO AND VIDEO INTO POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS
For students who will need to communicate using multimedia with Microsoft PowerPoint, computers professor Walter Lara says that familiarizing yourself with the instructions for doing so is a great idea.
We appreciate this invaluable advice from your SJR State professors and believe these tips will help get you settled into your new learning environment and prepare you for online classroom success. Again, please don't waste time holding back your questions. Simply speak up, and keep the learning process moving!
On the subject of moving, last but not least...
TAKE BREAKS, MOVE, AND STAY NOURISHED AND HYDRATED
Be mindful of the importance of taking breaks from the computer. Move away from it as needed. Step outside, inhale fresh air, and enjoy the feeling of sunshine or breeze on your skin. Do a few stretches, walk or even jog in place for a bit. Take time to refresh yourself and stay nourished and hydrated so that the best version of yourself shows up in your online classroom.
Here's to this next step of your academic journey! We're sending you virtual high-fives and cheering for each and every one of you.
You've got this! And we're here for you!
Director of Public Relations and Publications