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From March 23 until the end of the semester, the university will offer alternative virtual instruction instead of on-campus classes because of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
Throughout this semester, keep practicing the skills you are learning, says Huzefa Rangwala, chair of the Department of Computer Science. “Faculty members will often offer activities—readings, problems, pre-recorded lectures, quizzes. Do them at least once to make sure you know the material.”
Other ideas to increase student success with virtual classes:
- Test the programs and software you’ll be using ahead of time so you don’t miss an online class
- Stay focused. When you are online listening to your professor, don’t open other programs—it can be distracting, she says. Find a quiet place where you can focus, and use headphones to block out other noises.
- Make the most of virtual study groups, she says. You can work together online with other students to learn the material and prepare for exams.
- Contact your academic adviser if you need assistance, she says. They are going to be available to you.
- Take advantage of online resources that the university offers, including the online writing center and the online library services, Sanghera says.
- Manage stress. Try not to dwell on how this change could affect your grades and learning. Use your time constructively to review the material or check in with your professor, Kosoglu says.
- Keep up with the homework. Don’t wait until the last minute. That is cramming, not learning, Sherry says.
- Take stock of what you don’t know and fill the knowledge gap by actively seeking information, he says.
- Become an engaged and active learner. See if you can apply your knowledge beyond the class practice problems. Post a video or blog on social media about something you have just learned. Be the next Khan Academy on the subject, Sherry says. Or apply your knowledge to a problem/issue in the news. Did it change your understanding? Take it the next step, see if you can develop a product/service using your knowledge to solve a real-world need.
- Remember that posted office hours will most likely also be available virtually, says Garrison. So no matter where you are, reach out to the instructor to take advantage of talking with them, especially if you find yourself falling behind.
- Stay up-to-date on the university by visiting the Stearns Center website, the Mason website, the coronavirus page and the Blackboard page.