The pandemic has changed the way we live, work, and learn. As we continue to live in this time of uncertainly, it is important to recognize that many of us would prefer to have on campus classes. Although our courses are primarily online, here at Quincy College we continue to focus on your academic success.
Tip 1: Begin with the Course Start Here Module
At QC all of our online courses include a Start Here Module beginning with the course Welcome page. This page is very important because it provides you with all of the important course information, including information about your instructor and student support.
You should review all of the information on the Welcome page and be sure to read through the course description, course objectives, course requirements and materials. If your instructor has included the course map, which is a learning outline for the course, please be sure to download this to use as a guide to the course. You will also find the link to the course syllabus, which includes additional details about course expectations. You will want to download a copy of that as well.
In the Start Here Module you will find the QC Technical Support page. This page provides a lot of important information to help you get started in the course. For example, we have offered recommendations for browsers to use when working in Canvas, our course learning management system. We have also linked many Canvas tutorials that you might find helpful.
Tip 2: Set Time and a Place for Online Learning
First and foremost, online learning might be completely new to you so we suggest that as you transition to online learning, you keep your normal behaviors and routines as much as possible. For example, if you typically bring coffee to class, do the same when you are working in your online classroom. Keeping even the smallest behavior the same will help you relax instead of changing up your entire lifestyle.
Also, we suggest that you identify a place to complete your coursework. This could be a kitchen table, a quiet room at home with a desk, or a coffee shop. Wherever you feel most comfortable and can concentrate will work. What is important is that when you are in this location, you know it is time to focus on your learning.
Another suggestion is to log into your online course(s) several times a week to avoid having to cram and working around the clock at the last minute to get your assignments submitted. It is more effective to space out your work each week to help you with building knowledge, problem-solving and successfully meet all course requirements. Creating a set weekly schedule showing when you will log on to your online class and complete coursework will set you up for success.
For example, all of our online courses are organized into modules which begin with a Module Introduction page. On these pages, instructors organize the readings, videos to watch, discussions to engage in, writing or practice assignments, and assessments that you will need to complete by the end of the module. We suggest that you organize your week based on how your instructor has organized each module starting with the Module Introduction page.
- Mondays: Begin by reading over the module introduction, the objectives, and the required readings. This will set you up for success.
- Tuesdays: Continue with the readings, watch the videos, review any PowerPoints and engage in the discussions.
- Wednesday: Check back in on the discussions to respond to peers, finish videos and review PowerPoints, and begin assignments.
- Thursdays: Continue working on assignments, check back on discussions, review readings/PowerPoints and prepare for assessments.
- Fridays: Provide additional discussion responses to peers, review readings and videos as necessary and continue working on assignments.
- Saturday: Take any assessments and finalize discussion posts to peers. Submit assignments if they are ready.
- Sunday: Be sure that all assessments have been completed and assignments have been submitted.
We know that many of our students take more than one course per semester and have other commitments such as employment and family responsibilities. This weekly schedule is an example showing one way to organize your time and schoolwork commitments. The most important thing to keep in mind is to log into your online course(s) each day and set a schedule of what you must get done and when in order to successfully complete each module.
You can also use the calendar and the to-do list features in Canvas. Your instructor can help you with using any Canvas tool. QC also has a variety of Canvas support documents and videos to help you learn more about using the Canvas Learning Management System. More information about this support is located on the QC website.
Tip 3: Embrace the Growth Mindset
For many of us the transition to online learning does not come easy. That does not mean that you will not be successful in your online course. Students with a growth mindset believe that knowing they can learn and do well in school can determine their academic success. This means that even though you may feel uneasy and nervous because you have never taken an online course before or you struggle with technology, you also know that staying positive and believing in yourself can make a difference.
At QC our instructors will encourage and guide you every step of the way through your course. Reach out to your instructors and do not hesitate to ask questions, share concerns and celebrate success!
Tip 4: Interact with Your Instructor and Peers
Our online courses provide you time to work on your own and at a pace that works for you. Our courses will also give you time to interact with your instructor and peers. This time to connect can be in the form of online discussions.
For example, remember the Start Here Module? Your instructor will have an introduction discussion for you to share a little bit about yourself and learn a little bit about your peers and your instructor. This is very much like the first day of class on campus when everyone introduces themselves to each other. Our suggestion is to take this opportunity to read and respond to your peers. Look for what you have in common and what you can learn from each other.
Depending on the course, you will also have time to connect virtually with your instructor and peers. At QC, we use Zoom to set up time to talk about the course material, ask questions, get answers and learn more about the course content. This type of virtual conversation is very similar to your on campus classes. Our suggestion is to be part of these conversations. If you are the type of learner who likes in-class discussion, the virtual discussions using Zoom will be very similar. If you would rather listen, you can certainly do that as well. The point is to be part of the class. You have much to offer.
Tip 5: Remember That You’re Not Alone
One of the number one concerns about online learning is the dread of being alone. For many of us who have never taken an online course, the thinking is that online learning is simply working on a computer on your own without support and without a class community. Many of us want and need to be in a group learning environment, like a classroom.
At QC, you are part of our College community on campus and online! We want you to feel the same sense of belonging in the online classroom like you feel on campus. Just like on campus classes, our online classrooms are safe learning environments where you can discuss the course material and talk about experiences we are all facing so that none of us feel alone. Your instructors are dedicated and will engage you in your own learning.
So there you have it, 5 tips for online academic success. And remember you are important to us – We are all in this together!