Tips for Fall Term

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Photo by Sarah Lightley

Sarah Lightley/The Broadside

Back to School 

College classes are starting on Sept. 21 but will not be held in classrooms. Classes will take place online or through remote learning. This change will be different and will take time to get accustomed to. In this case, the feelings and anticipation towards fall term may seem different 

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For Professor Stacey Donohue, she is “looking forward to fall term” and “loves the energy of new students and the commitment of returning students. Donohue understands it will be a very different fall term but hopes to help students through online learning and ease their anxiety.  

Online classes may not be totally new to the COCC campus, but remote classes can present a new challenge. With teaching remote classes for the first time, Donohue is striving to “create Zoom classes that are interactive discussions rather than lectures. 

There are many resources available online regarding online learning tips and strategies. Donohue offered the following tips:  

  • Print the syllabus, and add all due dates to whatever calendar system you use 
  • Log into the course daily. Make sure you read the announcements and check your email regularly 
  • Read the week’s lectures/assignment instructions every Monday so that you can ask questions way before assignments are due 
  • Read the lectures/assignments ahead of time so you can ask questions during Zoom classes 
  • Do all your work through Word or Google docs so you can SAVE often, then upload to Blackboard 
  • Check your grades regularly to make sure you are not missing assignments, and read the feedback from your instructors weekly— the feedback can help with future assignments 
  • Participate either in Zoom or the Discussion Board and ask questions! 
  • Have patience and be kind to yourself and others: everyone is going to be struggling this fall, including your Professors  
  • And, most importantly, try to enjoy the experience of learning. As Rita says in the wonderful film Educating Rita, the beauty of an education is that it gives you “better songs to sing” – or at least different songs, different outlooks on this life we have 

We will be spending a lot of time behind the computer screen, so having a healthy balance between school, work, and fun is essential. Donohue recommends that students don’t try to do all their work in two days. Spread the work out during the week, working a few hours each day, then taking breaks away from all screens. 

An opinion about the fall term from an incoming freshman is that it’s quite a bummer for fall term to be all online/remote. I was looking forward to going to college and experiencing it all in person not through a computer.” However, Ashley hasn’t faced any challenges with having everything online. In this case, having classes online gives them the opportunity to help baby-sit younger siblings while taking college classes. Using Zoom for the first time can be daunting and so Ashley is looking forward to orientation for guidance. All other preparations for fall term are normal for her and the main steps taken so far are picking classes, buying textbooks, and familiarizing herself with their Bobcat account and where they can find things on the website.  

As for Chelsea Ainsworth, a graduate and dual enrolled student, having fall term online/remotely is a relief due to the concern of her health and overall less stress when it came to the decision of having total, online learning. While preparing for fall term, Chelsea has focused on figuring out Zoom, and creating a schedule between herself and her seventh grader for their upcoming online/remote classes. When classes are online/remote, technology is key, but challenges arise. For Chelsea, the camera on her laptop would stop working during classes, glitches would occur during lectures, Wi-Fi problems, and the distraction of family members would get in the way of studies. Time management is the biggest challenge overall, since being a mom and a student at the same time is difficult. No doubt these challenges are problems for a lot of students and can be difficult to manage this fall term.        

Fall term is just around the corner so consider your personal learning style and make sure you are prepared for an interesting fall term.

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