12 Tips to master distance learning


Sophia Reid

As we enter into week three of distance learning, the Observer sat down with Associate Dean Dr. Kristin Douglas to devise a list of tips and tricks on mastering this new form of learning. 
According to Douglas, as Augustana gets further into distance learning, the novelty of  different learning styles may have worn off and students may struggle to find motivation for the rest of the school year. 
If you find yourself slipping into routines and losing motivation, the following tips may help: 

  1. Recognize that we are all living in a “new normal” and experiencing some form of trauma. This is a hard time, and it’s important to remember that and go easy on yourself. 
  2. Remember that all of the same support systems that operated on campus are still working. Need tutoring? You can still utilize the Reading/writing Center. Need to speak to someone? Counseling services may look different, but they are still there. 
  3. Take advantage of new services like academic coaching. If you are looking for extra support weekly, monthly, or even one time, email Douglas to schedule an appointment. 
  4. Try to approach your school work like a job. Wake up early, do your work during the day, and save your nights for relaxation. 
  5. If possible, designate an area of your house for you to consider a work area. Make it feel like a work space and avoid doing all homework on your bed. 
  6. Try to maintain a routine. 
  7. Work with a planner!
  8. Give yourself breaks. Go back to work, but go outside and give your brain a rest throughout the day. 
  9. Keep on top of your email. According to Douglas, the college has worked on reducing the emails sent out to students daily so that you are able to see and read all emails from professors. 
  10. Be open and honest with faculty if you are struggling or need extra support. 
  11. Recognize that your professors are also experiencing a new form of teaching while maintaining a load of multiple classes. Share compassion with them as well. 
  12. Take some time to reflect throughout this new experience. Remind yourself why you are doing this and taking on this challenge. Is it for grad school? A future career or vocation? 

In addition to these tips to master distance learning, keep in mind the new services that are available. According to Douglas, there are new flags on Starfish where you can indicate to your professors that you are feeling overwhelmed or that you are worried for a friend. Everything is anonymous, and there is support available that didn’t exist before Augustana’s switch to distance learning. 
Beyond everything else, Douglas stressed that this is a new and difficult time for many. As we get further into distance learning, continue to be compassionate with yourself and others. Stay engaged and ask for help whenever you need it. 
Featured graphic by Thea Gonzales/Observer Staff