By Kristina Drendel
With everything going on in the world currently, many schools have decided to make the switch to online classes. However, many students may not know how to approach these classes as they have never had to deal with them before. Some may even find themselves overwhelmed on how to keep up their G.P.A. when dealing with an entirely new format for classes. Below, I’ve listed some of my tips for managing online classes and keeping your grades up.
- Put your health first: This isn’t really a tip, but I find it so important I wanted to list it first to ensure that it isn’t missed. These are unusual times and many of you may have more pressing matters that need to come before your schoolwork. I want to let you know that it’s okay to put these other things first. Missing a class or an assignment here or there will not kill you, I promise.
- Revisit your syllabus for changes frequently: Likely, your professor has already made several changes to your syllabus to reformat it for online. Unfortunately, many schools were rushed in reformatting the materials, so your professor may need to make changes as the weeks go by and new challenges arise. Checking your syllabus will ensure that you don’t miss any of these changes and you can submit all of your assignments on time.
- Take advantage of pass/fail courses: Because the circumstances are so unusual, many colleges have decided to temporarily change their pass/fail criteria. Check and see if you can use this to your advantage to raise your G.P.A. as many pass/fail courses do not count towards your G.P.A. If there is a class you know you will not be able to perform your best in, it may be in your best interest to declare it as pass/fail. For example, if you want to get a 4.0 this semester you can declare any class you believe you will not get an A in as a pass/fail course. Be sure to double check your college’s policy to see if this applies to you.
- Put every deadline in your phone and set reminders: With online classes, most of time, management will have to come from you. Writing down all your deadlines can help you to visualize when you need to be working on different things so that they don’t suddenly creep up on you.
- Keep your professor updated: When special circumstances arise that may prevent you from attending an online lecture or meeting a deadline on time, be sure to tell your professor in advance to see if you can work something out. People are more likely to be more compassionate if you give them more notice, and if you have an urgent matter come up it can’t hurt to let your professor know. You don’t have to give them every detail, just enough so they can understand where you’re coming from.
- Try to follow your normal schedule as best you can: Some professors may choose to give asynchronous lectures to avoid any scheduling or time zone difficulties. If this applies to you, it may help to try and complete the lectures during the time you would normally be in that class. This can help to hold you accountable as you won’t feel like you have to give up your free time to get the work done.
- If watching a prerecorded lecture is too tedious, make and read transcripts instead: I’m the type of person who struggles to sit down and watch a person talk for hours on end. However, I’ve found that if I read the same lecture instead, I’m more likely to retain the information and I can knock it out faster. There are many apps and that can turn recordings into transcripts for you so you may want to try this out if you also struggle with watching long lectures. You can also highlight key points of the lecture so you can easily find it when doing an assignment or studying for an exam. For apps you can try Otter or Live Transcribe and for websites you can use Temi or Trint.