Published: Jan. 14, 2021

Classes are starting remotely, and even though your learning environment may be different, it doesn’t mean your academic expectations should be. Here are some ways to make the most of remote learning. 

Set up a study space

Find a quiet space to work. Whether it’s your bedroom, living room or kitchen table, try to find a place that will allow you to focus. If your class includes verbal participation, try to find a location where you are able to talk in class without disturbing others.

Check your internet connection. With remote classes, it’s important to make sure you have a reliable internet connection. Additionally, be sure you have the correct link for your courses to avoid missing class or signing in late.

Minimize distractions. 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 or in another room to avoid distraction during class.

Communicate with others in your household. If you live with roommates or are staying home with family, have an open discussion of the dates and times you have classes and figure out a schedule to not be in each other’s way during those times. Communicating with others will create understanding and you’ll have an easier time focusing on the information you’re learning. 

Prepare for your first week

Create a routine. Take note of when you have class, and block off time in your days to eat, do homework and take breaks. Creating a schedule and sticking to it can help alleviate stress during the busier weeks of the semester. You can use your phone, online calendar or a physical agenda to keep track.

Review the syllabus. You will get a syllabus for each class. This document will have expectations, required readings, project deadlines, exam dates, policies and more.

Read the syllabus for each of your classes, and take note of important dates and deadlines—especially final exams. If you have three or more finals on the same date, make sure to work with your professors as soon as possible. If you have any questions after reading the syllabus, email or ask your instructor for clarification. 

Attend class. It is important now more than ever to attend class. Taking your classes seriously will help you stay engaged throughout the semester. Be sure to log in at least 10 minutes before class starts so you’re ready to deal with any technical difficulties that may occur. 

Participate and connect

Introduce yourself to your professor. It’s beneficial to introduce yourself to your instructor early in the semester. Establishing a rapport with faculty can offer future opportunities such as research projects or internships. Consider asking your professor what interests them about their class or their research topics.

Attend office hours. Faculty members often make time during the week to be available for students outside of the lecture time. This is known as “office hours.” Regularly attending office hours can make it easier to ask for help or guidance later on. Office hours may vary depending on each instructor. Verify with your professor when and how they will hold office hours for you to ask questions or express concerns. 

Speak up in class. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but asking questions and participating in discussions can help you stay engaged in class and learn the course material more easily.

Make friends virtually. Introduce yourself to a classmate via the chat feature on Zoom or engage in group discussions when given the chance to do so. Reaching out for help to stay on track or to meet new people in your classes can help you have a positive experience this spring.

Turn on your camera. Think of having your camera on like sitting in the front of a big lecture hall. It will help you hold yourself accountable and stay more focused on the lecture. It also shows your instructor that you’re present and engaged.

Academic help 

  • Get remote learning guidance, including resources, guidance for watching online lectures, tutorials for taking quizzes and exams and more.
  • Academic Calendar: Learn about add/drop deadlines, waitlist deadlines and more.
  • Academic Success Resource Library: This library gives you specific tools and tips to help you consider new approaches to studying, task management and more.
  • Academic Success and Achievement Program: ASAP 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 Center: The 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 Services: CAPS 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 program: Take 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.
  • Recreation CenterPhysical activity and movement are great ways to relieve stress, get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air. The Rec Center on campus has a number of options for students, including weight rooms, cardio equipment, lap swimming and virtual fitness and outdoor program classes. Find activities that work for your schedule and make you feel good.