Making the switch to online learning: Five tips for success

Braden Moss-Ennis, Opinions Columnist

Updated April 29.

  With California State University, Bakersfield having fully transitioned to online courses, it has definitely been a confusing change for students and faculty. Different classes may move at different speeds in their ability to adjust and continue on a schedule, others have been able to adjust almost immediately.  

  With about a month left in the semester, it’s time to make sure you are on track for success in your classes. Here’s a few lessons I learned during my time in online instruction: 

 Complete your work early 

  With the newfound abundance of time, try to get a head on some of your assignments if you can. Not only does it remove the pressure of a close due date, it allows for more free time to complete any other course work or to simply to relax. This is generally a good policy anyways at school, but there is even less of an excuse to not complete your work early now that everyone is completing assignments from home. 

  I did online schooling for a year and half, and if there was one thing I would do differently, it would’ve been to complete my assignments early. Procrastinating at home may initially seem rewarding, but it’s actually more rewarding to have all your work finished ahead of time. Once the work is done, you can now use your free time guilt-free. 

Learn the tendencies of your professors 

  This is perhaps the strangest and most difficult tip to follow. When I did online schooling in the past, one of the biggest stresses that I had often regarded my uncertainty about things like my class schedule, grading habits, and email response times. I would often panic about the fact that some assignments were not graded yet, or that the assignments for the week were not posted yet. 

  Some teachers are incredibly responsive to emails, while others may take a while to get back to students. Some teachers post the week’s schedule at a particular day of the week within a certain time range each week, where others are more spontaneous in their habits. As a result of all the varying circumstances, that stress can ultimately have a negative effect on one’s work habits and mental state. All you can do is adapt to the circumstances and figure out how certain teachers operate. 

  If a teacher isn’t good about responding to emails, see if they have office hours or have a phone number available. If a teacher normally does not grade immediately, do not panic about missing grades. It is impossible to be perfect in predicting when your teacher may have certain things posted by or when they’ll grade your assignments, but if you pick up on some of their tendencies, you will know when you actually need to be stressing over a missing grade or lack of assignments. Understanding your professors can provide such a sense of relief! 

Keep a digital planner that can send you reminders 

  For some people, being at home will make keeping track of assignments much easier. But for people like me, time passes by a lot quicker than it seems to normally; sometimes, you may forget what day it is or lose track of due dates. 

  Being at home, we often lose our day-to-day routine of going over our agendas and completing tasks that need to be done. As a result, some people may forget to check their planners. Having a digital planner that you set to remind yourself about assignments could be very useful for some in keeping track of time and making sure no assignment is forgotten about. 

Communicate with professors sooner rather than later 

  As previously mentioned, each instructor has their own email response time. Despite the fact that everyone is at home, some teachers will be fantastic at responding to emails in a timely manner, while others may be abysmal. 

  Given that we can’t ask questions in person, it is important to ask any question you have over email as soon as you have that question. Some teachers may end up taking a day or two to respond to you, so asking the question ahead of time can help ensure you will receive an answer in time, even if it takes the instructor a bit longer.  

  It is better to be safe and ask a question that the teacher may go on to explain later than to hold off on asking a question that isn’t answered, as it may ultimately alter your understanding of the course material. 

Utilize the resources that are available to you 

  Though self-isolation can make some people feel alone in these trying times, there are still many people and services available to students that are willing to help. 

 If you need learning assistance, each department at CSUB has a tutoring center that you can email to schedule a Zoom meeting. See below for a link for tutoring resources. 

  For counseling services, students can call the CSUB Counseling Center at 661-654-3366. The CSUB Counseling Center’s page states that if the call is made after 5pm, during a school break, or during a weekend, press 2 to be connected to CSUB’s after-hours counseling program Protocall. 

  If you need these services and were perhaps too nervous to try out them out previously, now could be the perfect time to give them a try. If you feel that you are alone in seeking help, let me be the first to assure you, there’s a ton of people that are having a difficult time transitioning. Get the help you need now to be the you that you hope to be when this is all over. 

For those choosing to utilize the tutoring center, check here for more information 

  If you have any tips that may relieve some stress during this change, please comment them below.