It has now been one year since classes at Carleton have been moved to an online format. Learning in an online environment can definitely be challenging. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can often be difficult trying to manage different due dates and assignments.
Asynchronous classes aim to provide flexibility for students, as they do not have live, scheduled meetings. Carleton University defines an asynchronous class as a “course where the instructor and students share information, ideas, and learning experiences in a virtual course space.”
Below, I have listed five tips which can help you succeed when taking asynchronous classes!
Schedules are Your Best Friend
While asynchronous classes do provide much needed flexibility, it can be difficult trying to manage a full-time course load on a weekly basis without a fixed schedule. However, creating your own weekly schedule can help you develop a routine for the semester. Identify when you work best! Are you a morning or evening person? Do you work better when your classes are completed throughout the week, or do you prefer watching your classes within a span of two to three days? Organizing when your classes and due dates are for assignments can help when the semester begins to become busier.
Creating a Comfortable Remote Workspace
I often have trouble concentrating on tasks for large increments of time. One tool which helps me is using the pomodoro technique, where you work in intervals. This method usually helps me get started when working on an assignment. If you are taking evening classes or working on an assignment late into the night, it definitely helps having a strong lamp. While I usually study in my room, I can also get distracted easily. Having a stress ball can be helpful when you might want to reach for your phone.
Using Discussion Boards
Discussion boards can be an effective way to communicate with other students and your professor! Especially with asynchronous classes not being scheduled, students are completing schoolwork at different times during the week. When used effectively, discussion boards can be an active approach for asking questions about weekly lectures and assignments. Some professors have a questions and answer forum which are dedicated to asking questions about the material.
Communicating with Your Professors
With asynchronous classes not being live, it can be easy to fall behind with coursework. Checking when your professor or teaching assistant has their office hours can provide structure for your week. If you are having trouble with a weekly lecture, first check the forums on cuLearn and the syllabus which you have been given. Let your professors know when you are falling behind with an assignment, and ask them to provide feedback if you are having difficulty with the course material. Professors’ office hours are meant for students and are there to help support you with your learning. Advocate what your needs are to your professor! Carleton provides resources on the best practices on reaching out to your professor.
Above all, have compassion for yourself! The COVID-19 pandemic has required all Carleton students to learn online, and professors to change their teaching methods. If you are having difficulty with your classes, utilize the resources which Carleton provides to your advantage. Your personal needs are completely valid, and you are worth it!
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