Published: Aug. 28, 2020

You’ve made it through your first week of classes, congrats! As you continue to adjust to life at CU, you may be taking courses in different instructional modes. Here are a few tips to help you navigate your in-person, hybrid or remote courses.

Consider your study spaces

With limited capacity in buildings around campus, find a spot or two in your residence hall or off-campus residence that will work for remote classes and study sessions. You can also use the Study Spaces & Outdoor Tents filter on the CU Boulder Campus Map to find quiet locations on campus.

If you have remote classes, here are some tips to consider to be more prepared:

  • Find a quiet space to work. Find a space that is free of distractions.
  • Avoid temptations. Consider taking games and apps off your laptop so you won’t be distracted by them. Set time limits or block social media and “black hole” websites during your school time with browser extensions like SelfControl or Forest. Keep your phone turned off, in your backpack or in another room to avoid distraction during class.
  • As you engage in learning throughout the first few weeks, reflect on and keep track of what is working for you in your study space and what isn’t. Do you need blue light blocking glasses? Noise canceling headphones? A better organizational system?
  • If your class includes participation, try to find a location where you are able to talk in class, without disturbing others.

Having clarity on how you need to prepare to stay engaged during your remote classes can help you stay focused throughout the semester. 

Make a schedule and stick to a routine

Don’t underestimate the power of planning! Creating a schedule and sticking to a routine can help alleviate stress in the busier weeks of your semester, especially if you have self-paced remote courses. Here is a list of steps to get you started:

  1. Start by reading your syllabus. It will give you deadlines, assignments and exam dates, and guide you in how to achieve the best grade in the class.
  2. Next, write down all of your assignments. Whether you use an agenda, your phone or a dry-erase board in your room, the point is to have all your assignments in a place you can refer back to. Be sure to include group projects, essay deadlines, midterms, final exams and other assignments.
  3. Then, using your calendar, block off times in your week for class, study sessions, relaxing and other obligations. Creating a schedule can make a big difference in your week. Be sure to maintain a good balance of the time you spend studying and the time you get involved in other areas of campus life. 
  4. Finally, stick to your routine. The more you can practice sticking to your schedule, the easier it will become a habit.

Try different routines, and adjust your study sessions and time for relaxing as needed. Remember, the most important thing is to find a routine that works for you.

Participate in class

Whether you’re taking an in-person, remote or hybrid class this semester, your participation is just as important as ever. Make sure to join and participate throughout lectures and group discussions. Staying engaged will not only help you stay focused on learning the material, but can also help you meet other students and get to know your professor. 

Challenge yourself to speak up in class, even if it feels uncomfortable at first. It may take a few weeks to see what works and what doesn’t, but keep trying. Remember that no matter the format, participating in class can be a great asset to your learning experience. 

Connect with others

No matter how you’re taking classes this semester, connecting with others can help you succeed. Introduce yourself to a classmate via the chat feature on Zoom or take advantage and engage in group discussions when given the chance to do so.

You can start off by introducing yourself to your professors via email and again when you have class. If you find yourself struggling with the course material or any other aspect of the class, be sure to ask for help. Reaching out to your professors during office hours or through email can help you clarify questions you may have. 

Don’t forget to meet with your academic advisor for additional guidance. Reaching out for help to stay on track or to meet new people in your classes can help you have a positive experience this fall.

students participate in socially distanced class in Norlin Library

Resources to help you this semester

Whether you’re looking for study tips, tutoring help or tips for managing stress, take advantage of these resources.

Academic help 

  • Academic CalendarLearn about add/drop deadlines, waitlist deadlines and more.
  • Get remote learning guidance, including resources, guidance for watching online lectures, tutorials for taking quizzes and exams and more.
  • Academic Success Resource LibraryThis library gives you specific tools and tips to help you consider new approaches to studying, task management and more.
  • Academic Success and Achievement ProgramASAP offers free peer tutoring to any student living on campus or first-year commuting students. There are also free webinars throughout the semester with tips on time management, combating virtual fatigue and more.
  • Writing CenterThe Writing Center offers writers from all academic disciplines and skill levels the opportunity to work one-on-one with professionally trained writing consultants. 
  • University Libraries: The libraries provide essential scholarly resources, user-centered services, and inclusive and welcoming spaces.

Managing stress

  • Counseling and Psychiatric ServicesCAPS offers telehealth (virtual) counseling appointments for undergrad and graduate students. New students or students who have not been seen in the past year should make an appointment through their MyCUHealth portal. Current students can call 303-492-2277 or connect with their provider to make an appointment.
  • Wellness Wednesdays: This weekly program provides a space to engage in self-care activities, learn about campus resources and build community. Students can participate in the activity and have a one-on-one conversation with an emotional wellness peer educator to create a personalized self-care plan. 
  • E-Let’s Talk: E-Let’s Talk is a free service offered by CAPS where students can check in via telehealth for an informal and confidential consultation with a counselor. Students commonly visit with concerns about stress, sadness, worry and more. Let’s Talk counselors can help provide insight, solutions and information about additional resources. Learn more about e-Let’s Talk hours.
  • SilverCloud online mental health programTake charge and manage your emotional health and well-being with SilverCloud, an online tool that provides personalized programs to help build skills around stress management, anxiety and depression.