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Tips for Students Participating in Online Courses

In March of 2020, the University of Illinois’ iSchool held a brainstorming session related to online course delivery. Part of the output they created included tips for students who may be attending classes from home. The tips below are intended to help provide a good experience for all participants in the course.

  • The most important way you can prepare for online learning is to make sure your technology is functional. Test your connection and software before you have a sychronous class time or an assignment deadline.
  • Don’t forget your computer charger!
  • Be patient –this may be the first time your instructor has taught online.
  • Log in early and test your equipment in case you experience technical issues.
  • Let your instructor know about any limitations (lack of technology, disability, etc.) so that they can work to find accommodations.
  • If you get disconnected from your class by your technology, don’t stress out; it happens to everyone at some point. Just log back inas quickly as you can.
  • If possible, download all content for the class ahead of time.
  • Make sure you have a place with a stable internet connection.
  • Do everything you can to simulate being in a real classroom, and make sure to pay attention.
  • Don’t lock yourself in a learning vacuum: participate, communicate, and collaborate.
  • Headphones with a built-in microphone can help you hear and be heard more clearly.
  • Mute your microphone when you’re not actively speaking.
  • Frequently check the channels of communication established for your course (slack; email; piazza; etc.).
  • Keep snacks and water handy so you don’t have to leave the class session.
  • Encourage your instructor to use a chat room moderator –a T.A. might be a good candidate.