Currently, our world is experiencing one of the worst pandemics that has ever taken place. On August 23, 2020, the recent outbreak of Covid-19 has generated over 5.6 million cases and taken 176,248 lives in the U.S. alone. Like a germ-ridden avalanche, this virus has dramatically altered society and culture. Mandatory face mask policies have been implemented in many places across the country, and public health officials have advised that we remain at least six feet apart. Many businesses and organizations have been forced to permanently close or are facing extensive financial issues due to a low amount of in-person shopping. Well known companies such as JCPenny, California Pizza Kitchen, New York & Company, and Pier One Imports have recently filed for bankruptcy protection. In fact, many school districts and universities in the U.S. are already dealing with on-campus outbreaks during the beginning weeks of the Fall 2020 semester.
In Georgia’s Cherokee County, almost 2,200 students are in quarantine after a possible exposure during in-person instruction. Institutions of higher learning are also being affected by the virus. On Saturday, August 22, 2020, Georgia Tech announced that 33 students tested positive for Covid-19 However, those numbers are only an addition to the 218 students who already tested positive before the 22nd.
As a result of these outbreaks, many universities have declared that their students will currently tackle the upcoming Fall 2020 semester by utilizing remote methods. At universities where remote learning is simply an option such as Kennesaw State, some students are still deciding to complete the semester online. While this decision is deemed essential and appropriate by many, successfully completing online classes can seem challenging and overwhelming. Here are five tips on how to successfully complete the semester online.
- D2L BrightSpace is Now Your Best Friend
If you’re new to KSU or haven’t noticed yet, D2L is where all of your classes and grades are located. It is here where you will turn in all of your assignments and spend most of your time. So you should learn how to operate D2L. The easiest and quickest way to access D2L is by downloading the app on your phone or tablet. Apple and Android users can do this by going to the AppStore or Google Play Store, searching “Brightspace Pulse,” and hitting download. After it’s downloaded, the app will ask you to enter the name of the college you are attending. If you entered Kennesaw State, you should be directed to a page that asks you to log in to your KSU student account. Once that’s completed, you are finished with the setup process.
- Manage Due Dates By Keeping a Calendar
I know what you’re already thinking, “Why would I need a calendar when everything is online?” Promise me, you will never repeat those words again. Not having a calendar while taking online classes is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Many online students miss assignments and deadlines because they didn’t remember something was due (especially with classes that have something due every week). There is just too much to remember. Please, do yourself a favor and get a planner! No, they don’t have to look as bland or boring as you just pictured. There are hundreds of cute designs online at Amazon, Blue Sky, or Happy Planner.
- Create a Workspace That You Will Actually Succeed In
Sure, you love your bed and your sofa. They’ve been your go-to while you binge-watched on Netflix and ate snacks for the whole summer. However, we both don’t know the last time you actually got some work done while sitting on it. I mean the kind of work that doesn’t require a tv remote or a sleeve of double stuffed Oreos. Be honest. Your bed or the sofa is no place to complete college courses. While I don’t want to get between you or your comfortable space, it isn’t worth it to struggle with distractions. So find a place where you don’t mind being for awhile. Maybe that’s the desk in your room, outside, or in a Starbucks. Whatever works best for you. Oh, and yes, your grades will thank you later.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Email Your Professor Questions When Needed
Just because you can’t see your professor in person doesn’t mean you do not have questions. You might need to know how to cite something, complete an assignment, or participate in an extra credit project. Whatever it may be, you definitely need to ask. Remember, everything is better left answered than assumed. Trust me. Online professors are not creatures from the Black Lagoon. Many of them are happy to answer questions and want to provide feedback. So make sure you send them an email, give them a call, or swing by their on-campus office.
- Make A Technology Back Up Plan
The power just went out, but you have a paper due in an hour. The paper is worth over 25% of your final grade. Okay, maybe you panicked for like five seconds, but then you remember that you have a backup plan. While completing online classes, you need a “Technology Backup Plan” that will work in a crisis time. Maybe you’ll use the hotspot on your phone, go to the nearest Starbucks or run to your BFF’s house. The method is entirely up to you. Just make sure where you are going has free WiFi and won’t be of a distraction.
This semester is hard enough with all that is going on, so take whatever steps you can to make it easier on yourself. Good luck this semester!