Virtual Student Support and Resources
Resources for remote Learning
Adapting to a remote Learning Environment
We know this is a new mode of learning for many of you. Our goal is to help you transition to remote learning as smoothly as possible. Below we have gathered some tips, tricks, and suggestions that can help you finish this semester strong. Read on and contact us if you have any questions!
Please note we have borrowed some resources from outside entities and given credit where credit is due. Any external links posted were deemed helpful by CASA yet content is subject to change; the links or outside information does not indicate endorsement or approval by CASA or Mines.
remote Learning Support
Advising: CASA Advisors are available for quick questions and telephone or virtual advising appointments. Use the chat feature (bottom right hand corner) for quick questions. Contact us to schedule an appointment with your advisor.
Tutoring is offered both in-person and virtually. Tutoring information here.
Faculty in CASA Visit the Faculty in CASA website for full information.
Core Review Sessions Visit the Core Review Session website for full information.
Mines Study Habits guide for online learning
Online Learning Individual Course Planner
Managing Test Anxiety- Zoom Seminar
The Counseling Center will hold a seminar on Managing Test Anxiety through Zoom on Tuesday, April 14th at 12pm MDT. Visit https://www.mines.edu/counseling-center/emotional-wellbeing-workshop/ for more details.
Timely Topics to help you with remote learning
Read below for themes on how to do well in your remote courses and some fun activities when you have completed your studying. Remember to strive for balance with fun and studying!
- Managing Your Time as an Online Learner during Unprecedented Times
- Communicating Through Transition
- Creating and Maintaining a Virtual Study Space
- Adjusting to and Success in Remote Learning
- For Fun!
Greetings! You, along with millions of other college students across the world, are currently attending classes during unprecedented times. You have been propelled into the wonderful world of online learning. Congratulations! (?!)
Honestly, things right now are tumultous and, at times, scary. I want to acknowledge that this is not what your vision of college looked like, and online learning, especially if you’re back at home, can bring some new challenges…and that’s not even covering world events! This picture has really helped how I think about things. Know you are not alone.
One of the things that we can work on controlling is time management. Online learning is more self-directed when it comes to learning, assignments, and time management. This can be exciting for some and terrifying for others. So, in the interest of focusing on things I can control, I wanted to provide some tips and tricks that can hopefully help you more successfully manage your time as an Online Mines Student.
Slide to the Left, Slide to the Right: Course Adjustments
It can be overwhelming to see all of your syllabi. Take a deep breath and remember you don’t have to accomplish it all at once. The first step to time management is knowing what tasks you need to manage.
Break It Down Now, Y’all: What are Your School Responsibilities?
First, gather your materials. Open up all your syllabi and canvas courses so you know what you’re working with.
This chart is an amazing resource and includes some things to think about when figuring out what your classes will look like. In addition to helping you keep track of how your lectures and labs will be offered, it also has the important question of when things are happening. Is your professor going teach at the same time they taught in person (watch out for time zone differences!), or are they going to upload materials online and let you work on it at a time that works for you before a certain deadline? What time will they be offering office hours? The first step to managing your course is making sure you’re showing up to class, so make sure you look at where and when you need to “show up.”
Now that you know this, you need to figure out a way to keep track of this. What did you use to keep track of your time before? A planner? A wall calendar? Google/Outlook calendar? Have that available and plot out your class times on it. You can also use a weekly calendar like this.
Second, when are your projects, tests, and larger assignments due? Your “smaller” assignments (weekly lab reports, for example) are important too, but we’ll start with the big stuff.
Take it Back Now, Y’all: Backwards Planning
With larger assignments, it’s helpful to do something called backwards planning. This means you start with when the assignment is due and work your way back, thinking about when you need to start the assignment in order to accomplish the smaller tasks that lead up to a finished project.
For example, if you know you want to start writing a paper for NHV 5 days in advance, write that in your calendar/planner. If you want to start studying for that Physics test a week in advance, write that down on each study day too. Also think about other responsibilities and life commitments. Maybe you’re going to be so distracted by the new Star Wars: Clone Wars episodes dropping on Fridays that you can’t possibly write a paper (just me?) Plan in an extra day!
Once you have all of your big assignments plotted out, you can either transfer them to that weekly calendar/your planner and make sure you’re putting in your smaller assignments as well. Some people like to take just a few minutes each week (maybe Sunday nights before everything starts, but you do you) to get their calendar/planner set for the week, double check any changes, and make sure they’re ready to go. All of this plotting and planning might seem a bit much, but truly, showing up for class and making sure you’re setting up a plan to complete assignments is the first step to time management. Now it just comes down to actually following through with the plan…
Cha Cha Real Smooth: Creating a Routine
Your life doesn’t just consist of school, especially now that you may be in a new setting (or old setting). Due to current events, you may have different responsibilities or expectation that your roommates (or your family, who are really just extreme roommates) have of you now that you may be living a little closer to them. Although it’s not always possible, it’s a good idea to try to establish and follow a routine to help things run smoothly.
One place to start is by thinking about your old routine. Did you make sure to schedule time to eat lunch between two of your classes? Still take that time to make sure to eat. Did you limit video games on weeknights? Still limit that time. Did you work out at the gym in the evenings? Take the same time to go on a walk or watch an exercise video. You can use your planner or weekly calendar to write down your ideal way of managing time. Make sure to schedule time for social interaction (even if that’s digital), sleep, sunshine, fun, and food. If possible, limit exposure to social media/news. It’s okay to check, but being on it all day will increase your stress. People react in different ways to this crisis, and it’s okay to feel sad or scared. Give yourself some grace and take a break when you need it. The closer you can stay to your old routine, the better you’ll feel.
It might be a good idea to sit down with your family and/or roommates and discuss what your time commitments for school look like and what their expectations for you are. Maybe you have to keep up with different chores, watch children/siblings/nieces/nephews, or cook more than you had to when you had access to the ol’ Mines Market. You can also schedule those things in. Again, this won’t always be perfect, so create a plan and then track how closely you follow it. If you really want to go hard on time management, take a few minutes at the end of each day to write down areas of success and areas you might like to improve on tomorrow. It’s okay to rearrange some things, give yourself some grace, and try again the next week once you know what’s more realistic. If an emergency comes up or you’re struggling to complete everything you need to, let your professor or advisor know. We can help you strategize.
One Hop This Time: Knowing Yourself
When planning out how you want to use your time, remember, although your location may have changed, you probably haven’t (at least, not a whole lot). What are some things you need to do to be successful?
Even though you probably had access to the internet and other related distractions on your phone/laptop when you were attending classes in person, it may be tempting to engage in those distractions more when your professor can only see the little Zoom square of your face and not the phone you’re texting on or the other tab you have open. If you focused better by putting your phone in your backpack and actually listening to the professor at school, you will also focus better that way at home. (As an advisor, I’m gonna tell you to do this anyway).
If you studied with soft music before, try to replicate that habit now. If you needed silence, use silence (or put on headphones so it’s as quiet as possible). If you studied with friends, start a Google Hangout. If you studied alone, study alone. Try not to multitask and set limits for yourself. If you couldn’t do Calculus while watching Netflix before, you probably still can’t. The CASA Resources Page has some technology limiting app suggestions if you need it. You can do it! Use the same strategies you used before to manage your time and focus.
Now It’s Time to Get Funky: Sticking to the Plan
Obviously, this time management stuff is easier said than done. One of the most challenging things I experience is when I feel like I have so much to do, I sometimes get overwhelmed and freeze. I feel anxious and can’t do anything! Whether you’re procrastinating from nerves or for other reasons, try to just start SOMETHING. It doesn’t have to be the biggest thing and you don’t have to get it done all at once, but just get started. You might find once you’re started, you get more done than you think because, in theory, an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force (this was totally what Newton meant, right?)
Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get it all done at once. Unfortunately, humans have a short attention span. One method, the Pomodoro or Tomato Timer method, is famous for taking advantage of this. Take 20 minutes to study, then 5 minutes off. Set a timer and stick to it. During the 5 minutes off, take a break. Make sure you’re doing something you can actually come back from after 5 minutes (aka not watching old TV show theme song compilations on YouTube…wait…is that just me again?!) Then do 20 more minutes of work and another 5 minute break. You’ll do 4 of these cycles total and then take a longer, 20 minute break. Your brain will be able to focus for these shorter time periods better!
If you’re really stuck, it’s okay to take a longer break in general. Walk and think about that coding issue, have a dance party with your sibling! Your brain needs breaks!
We’re All in This Together
I hope some of these tips are able to help. Again, if you need further assistance, CASA offers Academic Coaching, and we’re happy to talk through your individual situations. I know things are very unpredictable, but I believe we’ll look back on this time with grace and kindness for ourselves. Schools and employers will be understanding that this was a tough time. If you need help, just ask, and if you don’t know where to ask, Mines has a place where we can connect you to the right person here. Don’t forget, in the wise and eternal words of Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez, “We’re all in this together” (2006).
More helpful links:
As the saying goes, communication is key. During times of change and transition, it is especially true. Here are some communication tips to help keep things going smoothly as you are transitioning to classes online.
Communicate with your faculty
- Keep up to date with what your faculty are providing you and their expectations.
- Be willing to ask questions and get clarification when needed. This can be done by email, phone if available, and virtual office hours.
- Plan ahead – if you need to set up a phone or Zoom meeting with faculty, it will take planning ahead and scheduling a time.
Communicate with your classmates
- Ask what other students are using that is helpful, learning from each other is key.
- Check out different collaboration spaces (virtual whiteboards, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.) for working on group projects.
- Collaborate to create a schedule of work and deadlines for group projects and do regular check-ins with each other.
- Let your group-mates know if you have any limitations, especially with technology so they can help.
Communicate with your family – Especially if you are now at home to help them understand your schedule and needs.
- Create a weekly schedule of class time, homework, studying, etc. and share with your family so everyone knows your time commitments and when you are available.
- Keep family updated on how school work is going so they understand your experience.
- Show family some of your online work, they may be interested to see what it’s like to be an online student.
Communicate with your resources
- Reach out to resources you may need such as tutoring, core review sessions, faculty office hours, and advising help. All of these will now be virtual and available to you. Check out https://www.mines.edu/casa/ for more information.
- Reach out to the Health Center if you need to. They are all working virtually as well and ready to help support you. The Health Center can be reached by leaving a voicemail at 303-273-3381 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mines Counseling Center is also working virtual and has great online free resources. Check them out at https://www.mines.edu/counseling-center/.
For additional tips check out:
Do you need to review how you’re studying at home or in this new environment? This video provides timely tips for learning online and at home.
Are you finding it difficult to study at home? Check out this video to gain some resources about how to set up your study space.
The above article from Pearson has videos from Jaylen, a student at University of Central Florida, on his transition to online learning due to COVID-19 and how he’s keeping community.
The above article from Minnesota State covers seven important topics needed for online success. “Two key advantages of online learning are flexibility and convenience. But online learning is a lot more challenging than it may seem.”
The above article from Pearson addresses motivation challenges when learning online.
The above article from edX covers important aspects of online learning including self-care and more.
The above article from the Coursera blog lists eight “go-to study tips” to help in an online environment.
The above article from The Best Schools provides a general run-down of information about online classes.
The following are links to help you have fun during your study breaks. Enjoy!
- Denver Zoo hosts Zoo To You virtual safaris
- Mines Virtual Fitness Classes through facebook
- Planet Fitness has live-stream workouts through facebook
- DailyBurn is offering 60 days of free workouts online.
- CorePower Yoga has some free on demand classes
- Guided Meditations from UCLA provides meditations in English and Spanish.
- Dance with Alex Vaughn, Colorado fitness professional.
Tours and Museums