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How to Work With Your Professor and Classmates Virtually

Last updated September 26, 2020

Whether it’s the first time you’ll be taking a class online or you have a handful under your belt, you can improve how you work with your professors and classmates virtually.

Familiarize yourself with the technology being used

Take the time to click through the different technology applications and online tools required for your class(es). Look at the application settings to choose options that are ideal for your computer and internet speed. For example, lowering your video resolution can help alleviate lag.

Develop a patient and compassionate attitude

For many instructors/professors this will be the first time they are teaching virtually. For you and many of your classmates, this may be the first time learning online. Everyone will be figuring out their study spaces, how to learn and study online, and most of all how to connect through a screen. Give each other a safe space to make mistakes, to learn, and to ask for help.

Inform your virtual community of your situation

The need for a reliable set-up at home will be necessary more than ever. If there is anything impeding your learning, for instance, limited internet connection or availability to a computer, inform your instructor/professor. If you’re comfortable let your classmates know. You may find that you can be pointed to resources such as an internet hotspot borrowing service or student discounts for a laptop. By letting your virtual community know about your circumstance you can open the conversation to solutions and understanding.

Go to (virtual) office hours and ask for help early

Going to office hours will be more important now than ever because many things can be lost in translation over a screen. Office hours provide another opportunity for you to ask questions and ensure that you really understand the material. Let your professor know if you want to discuss more personal matters that might be affecting your performance in individual office hours.

Actively participate in discussions (verbally or written)

You do not need to present a new idea each time you post something for a class (unless that is the assignment). You can agree with other classmates, or mention you’re thinking about the issues in a different way because of their post. Another way to participate is to ask clarifying questions. Whatever route you take, you want to make sure that you are an active participant in every class.

Set-up time to work in small groups

Reach out to your classmates through a discussion board to set-up a study group. You can share notes, discuss concepts, go over lessons, and share support. This will be a great way to connect with your classmates, while staying on top of school work.

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