Of campuses with Delta Tau Delta Chapters, 100 percent have at least gone temporarily remote and students must adjust. Online learning, telelearning, distance learning, or whatever you want to call it, can present a variety of benefits and challenges listed above. These tips and recommendations can help you best adjust to the academic changes you may be seeing.
- Flexible schedule
- Study anywhere
- Reduced travel times
- Overwhelmed with what to do first
- No accountability
- Isolation and minimal interaction
- Confusion and ineffective communication
- Ask Questions
- Answer Questions
- Show up as much as possible and participate (Opportunity to lead)
One of the most important things to do to help to learning (and your GPA) is to engage as much as possible in your coursework. The online technology gives us greater access than normal to our professors and classmates because everyone is using the online platform. Office hours can now be anytime. Post questions in your discussion groups if stuck or curious and answer questions others ask (or at least try). One of the best ways to test your comprehension is to teach the content. Lastly. If your professor, TA, or classmates are hosting tutorials, study sessions, etc. take advantage of them! This is a free opportunity to focus on the material and potentially find some blind spots in your own learning. If no one is utilizing the discussion boards yet, be the first. Everyone has questions right now and your leadership will have a snowball effect and help your classmates get through this unique time.
- Create a schedule/routine
- Build-in Healthy Habits
- Take advantage of self-pacing
- Goals and Deadlines
Being on campus provides a ton of natural structure for students. You have class times, mealtimes, on-campus activities, and events with friends. All of this helps prioritize your time, so you know when to work and when to have fun. With the country social distancing and a million things canceled, you are now in charge of building your routine and we thrive when we have a routine. Consider this sample schedule and a simple starting point and build a schedule that works for you. In your daily schedules, make sure to include healthy habits like stretch breaks, water breaks, exercise, and social interaction (either with your quarantine crew or digitally). Remember to take advantage of the self-pacing opportunities provided by online learning. If lectures are recorded, watch them live and on your own time. Speed them up and slow them down at your pace and revisit as often as you need. Lastly, when looking at your weekly schedule or routine, make sure to build in goals and deadlines that give you wiggle rooms and celebrate accomplishing those goals.
- Pomodoro technique
- Use the phone to help, not hurt
This may be the most challenging at all given the whirlwind around this moment, but there are lots of things that influence your ability to focus. Find a study environment that works for you. Ideally, this is a space without distractions, like a television with Netflix. This is also ideally a space that isn’t your bedroom, this can mess with your sleep cycle or tempt you to take naps during your productive time. Consider making a makeshift desk at your kitchen table or elsewhere in your home. If you love a coffee shop but they are closed, consider traveling to your favorite public Wi-Fi spot (library, McDonald's, cafes, etc. ) and use the wifi from your car. Whatever you need, be creative and make it happen. When trying to be productive in specific time windows, consider using the Pomodoro Technique, which is cycles of 25 focused minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. Timers on your phone or specific Pomodoro apps can be a catalyst for maximizing those productivity windows your schedule for yourself.
4. Social Accountability
- Avoid distractions/apps/draining media – be intentional with your connection and time
Accountability is going to be hard to find if you aren’t used to online learning, but a great tool is utilizing your classmates, friends, or brothers to create accountability. Consider starting regular study calls with the groups to share your goals, check in on each other, discuss issues, and commit to helping each other. Beyond your coursework, think of how you can build healthy interactive times with your friends and brothers. Phired Up shared a Google Doc of ways for chapter members to stay connected. Some of my favorites are online gaming together or hosting a Netflix viewing party. If connecting with brothers, share them on social media and tag Delta Tau Delta. We would love to see how your brotherhood is staying connected during this time. Lastly, with so much of our online learning and social distancing increasing our screen time, try to be intentional about how you are using apps and minimize apps that are draining to you. Most phones now have wellbeing settings, focus settings, app timers, etc. Be mindful about which apps are good for a quick break or which apps suck you in. For me, Instagram and Facebook can be mentally draining at times and YouTube/Netflix can pull me completely away from my productive mindset. When should you use those apps to bet fit your needs and goals?
5. Plan & Be Proactive
- Take Inventory of Deadlines and build wiggle room
- Use 15 minutes on Sunday to make a weekly action plan (this works daily too!)
- Familiarize yourself with Technology early
Success is more than operating at the highest level we can. We benefit greatly from planning, reflecting, and anticipating challenges ahead. I recommend writing all your deadlines down in one place you can easily access to help you see the landscape of your work. For some, this works best on a calendar and others on an excel sheet. Additionally, review your deadlines, goals, and focus areas regularly. Taking 15 minutes every Sunday to plan your week’s priorities can greatly improve your focus and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by tasks. Those 15-minute planning sessions might work better for you in a daily format with as many changes that are currently happening. Lastly, build yourself some extra time on your deadlines. You will need to do this because there are likely many additional small unexpected changes that could edit your original plan. One challenge to update now is familiarizing yourself with any new technology or software you are expected to use. The last stressor you need is learning a new video software the night before the project is due.
Do your best. Things are tough now and you are not alone. Thousands of students and likely your chapter brothers are experiencing similar challenges. Give yourself and others grace to do the best with what you have right now. It likely won’t be perfect, and that is okay. Find some people to trust and lean on each other. Brotherhood is built for moments like these when we don’t know what’s next and need support.