Managing the Transition to Online Courses

Susan Aguiar

When thinking about the return to classes after Spring Break, no one could imagine it looking like this.  But during this unprecedented time, colleges are figuring out the balance of public safety and enforcing social distancing, while trying to recreate the college experience that you are used to. While this new format of learning can be a time of stress and concern, there are ways to try to make the remainder of the semester a successful one.

Set a schedule. 

Whether you lived on campus or at home during the start of this semester, your routine has certainly changed. Set a new schedule based on what your days look like now. Some courses may still be meeting at the same time (and you may need to adjust for time differences) or other courses are posting throughout the day. Make time in your day for synchronous and asynchronous courses, reviewing notes/slides/videos, homework and, of course, for non-academic parts of your day – sleeping, meals, video chats with family and friends and downtime for exercise, mediation or TV shows.

Organize E-mails. 

With your main method of contact with others on campus turning almost exclusively to e-mail, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the information sent to you. However, it is important that you make checking your e-mail part of your daily routine. When receiving an e-mail, determine if it requires an immediate response, a response within 24 hours, or if it is more informational and doesn’t require a response. Set up e-mail folders for those different categories to try to limit clutter in your inbox as seeing that could add to your stress. If you use your college e-mail for company newsletters, you may want to consider removing yourself from unnecessary e-mail lists at this time. 

Keep connecting with campus resources. 

With the temporary changes to some academic policies for this semester, you might not be sure what your best course of action is. Before making any decisions, reach out to your professors and advisor.  You may have to get creative since you can’t meet in person, but see if you can set up office hours through video chat or over the phone. Remote services are also still available for tutoring and academic coaching, career services, and counseling. Even if you never used these resources in the past, it is never too late to take advantage of these services.

Maintain your relationships.

If you had staff or offices on campus that you had strong relationships with, keep using them to stay connected. Maybe it is your coach, your RA/RD or someone in Mission & Ministry. You are not an imposition for reaching out to anyone on campus who is not your professor or advisor. Everyone at the college wants to maintain these relationships as well and, in this age of social distancing, welcome being contacted by students. 

This is a difficult time for all of us, but remember that we’re all in this together and will make it through the other side a stronger community.  Please make sure that you are taking care of yourself and those around you as we all look forward to returning to our vibrant campus. 

Susan Aguiar
Susan Aguiar

I am a double graduate of Emmanuel with a BA in History and an MS in Management. I have been working in Academic Advising since 2008. I enjoy reading, running and finding new places to visit. My advice to any college student is to utilize all the services offered at the college – a professor, advisor, tutor, counselor – whoever you think can help. Even if you don’t know who to ask a question to, just ask one person you trust, and they’ll lead in you in the right direction.