- Block out time for those “free” hours.
In addition to things that happen at fixed times, like class and project-team meetings and online faculty office hours, designate time on your schedule for watching lecture videos, reading, and doing homework. Be realistic with your scheduling, and include time for talking to friends and taking care of yourself.
- It’s all about your circadian rhythm now.
If you’re most productive late at night, go ahead and schedule yourself to watch lecture videos at 3 a.m. (you’ll reduce the daytime demand on bandwidth, too)!
- Check (and recheck) course requirements.
It may be a little disorienting to attend class on Zoom or Canvas rather than in Albertus, but keep in mind that your professors are doing their best to stay engaged with you and your classmates while reconfiguring their classes in midstream. (To check out their perspective, read this interview with Saint Rose professors on online learning.)
A few pointers:
- Keep up.
Check Canvas often for faculty announcements, changes to syllabi, and discussion-board posts.
- So how will this relationship work, anyway?
Find out how your professors are staying in touch. Do they offer office hours on a fixed schedule or by appointment? Do they encourage or discourage individual emails? Do they have specific conference sessions to help with homework or exam prep?
- Don’t assume it’s the same.
Requirements may have changed for given classes. Confirm the requirements for labs, homework assignments, quizzes, and projects. Have the formats or due dates changed? (Put the dates on your schedule!) Are you required to comment on lectures, interact on discussion boards, submit presentations?
- Faculty are people, too.
Remember that each faculty member is an individual. One of your professors may upload videos like clockwork, while another may occasionally be a little late. One may prefer to quiz you on Canvas, while another asks you to submit a PDF.
- Stay connected.
When in doubt, reach out to your professor(s)! They will appreciate hearing from you and may even prompt you for feedback.
- Keep up.
- Focus on the lecture.
Don’t fall victim to multiscreening: Shut down anything else you have on your computer and step away from your phone. Take notes and think of questions or comments you can post on discussion boards or address during office hours.
- Be timely.
Don’t fall behind on your schedule, or you may find yourself feeling frantic as exams approach. Find out when your professor posts lecture videos, and watch them as soon as you can. (You can always review them – especially handy before an exam.)
- Don’t speed up the playback.
You may not believe it, but if you play back a lecture at faster-than-normal speed, you won’t retain the material as well. (We have the receipts on this).
3. Yes, you can do 14 things at a time – just don’t right now
- One thing at a time, please.
It’s so tempting to multitask when you feel like you have 27 things to do, but don’t do it. For the overwhelming majority of us, trying to accomplish multiple things at once is extremely inefficient. You forget where you are and what you were doing, accomplish less, and retain less.
- Also, give it a rest.
When we say “do one thing at a time,” though, that doesn’t mean reading that entire 146-page chapter in one sitting. Break the chapter up over a couple of days, break up your studying with little five-minute rests (do a lap around the room, fold a few pieces of laundry, cuddle with your pet, tell your sibling a silly joke, or lean back and sip on your sad replacement for your daily Starbucks).
- Keep it consistent.
Try to meet about as often as you were meeting in person, on a fairly regular schedule. This can prevent the team from falling behind.
- On today’s agenda …
Organize each meeting with some sort of agenda. This doesn’t have to be complicated or long, but have a goal or set of objectives that everyone receives – you can do this over email or text, if you like.
- Set goals.
Agree on the method(s) you’d like to use to keep track of what’s accomplished at the meeting. You can designate one teammate to take notes and send those out to everyone, or keep a shared document, for example.
- Hello, we said pay attention.
Be present for your teammates. During the meeting, give your teammates your full attention – don’t open tabs, watch videos, or wander off.
- We could have done this in an email.
Having said all this, we’ll add that there may be times when you may not need an actual meeting: You may be able to get caught up by sending a status update over email, connecting with a short text dialogue, or making a quick phone call (we find tools like WhatsApp, Slack, Discord, and Messenger can be helpful). You don’t want to waste each other’s time with unnecessary meetings.
- There’s always that one teammate …
If you’re having issues with a team member not participating, reach out to your professor. It’s fair to let them know that, while the rest of you are working on your project, you have concerns.
- Recreate your on-campus world.
Think about what makes you most productive. Did you study in the library, the Camelot Room, or Starbucks? If you miss studying there, think about ways to change your space at home to simulate those environments. Can you read in a comfy chair? Bring over a floor lamp? Treat yourself to a homemade latte and biscotti?
- An old freelancer’s trick: Dedicate space for working.
This can be whatever works best for you: your desk in your bedroom, a corner of the dining table (if your family can spare it), your computer workspace. As much as possible, don’t clutter it with other stuff, and don’t let it spread out (you’re bound to misplace things you’re working on, and your family won’t appreciate it).
- Think of it as a grown-up cubby.
Keep your class materials together in one place, too. There’s nothing more distracting than being ready to work on your homework, and not being able to find the lecture notes you need to do it.
- Hey, did you know?
Share what you’re learning with your family. Has Professor Straus been lecturing about fascinating trends in politics? Did you learn something amazing from Professor Bennett-Knapp about how historical epidemics spread?
- Beware of news overload.
If you find that the reporting on COVID-19 (or anything else) is making you overly anxious or upset, give yourself a break from the news.
- Get on your department’s social media.
The Center for Art & Design Facebook page, Department of Communication’s Twitter feed, wherever your folks hang out.
- Call, email, or video chat with – well, anyone you want.
A high-school friend you haven’t spoken with in months. Someone you normally hang out with every day on campus. Is there an elderly relative or neighbor you’d like to check on?
- Study with a classmate.
Do a video call to discuss a lecture or discuss a homework assignment (as much as the professor allows, that is).
- Get creative with reasons to hang out.
Can you watch TV shows together, craft together, read a play with a bunch of friends, or play board games? Host your own cooking show, with recipes using ingredients that hoarders haven’t cleaned off the shelves? Start a book group? Some people even hold birthday parties on Zoom!
7. Reach out to Saint Rose
Please be as patient and compassionate with yourself, and those around you, as you can.
We know that COVID-19 disrupted your plans – you may have had to postpone your recital or cancel a trip; you might even be unsure whether you’ll pass a course.But remember: It may be awhile, but things will get back to normal. In the meantime, we may be away from campus, but Saint Rose faculty and staff all working hard to ensure that your courses and activities continue as smoothly as possible.
Look for notices from clubs and organizations on campus, who have come up with virtual ways to still hold events. Rose Record Label Group is streaming performances, and Vocal Angels is holding weekly Bible studies. Check out their social feeds to see what they have planned. (The College will work to keep you posted, too.)
Also, Saint Rose has great resources to help you in any way during this difficult time, so reach out to: