How can I avoid falling behind in my online FAMU classes?

Photo of NXNW ApartmentsNXNW is a student-apartment complex located in the heart of Tennesee St. The complex has shared living spaces such as the living room, a perfect study space.

With syllabus week out the window, the real intensity of classes begins to show. Before the age of COVID-19, there were no worries of falling behind unless you didn't attend class. However, with pre-recorded lectures, zoom meetings from your bedroom, and countless email notifications, it can be easy to fall behind. Here are three quick tips to succeed in your FAMU online classes.  

Time management  

College already teaches you, even before COVID-19, that time management is essential to learn. Without a clear sense of how committed you may be, you are sure to take on more than you can handle. The best way to improve time management skills is to create a scheduled calendar. A calendar such as the one provided with your phone or Google calendar, will visually display your daily schedule and show how much free time you have. Most calendars can be organized swiftly by adding events or syncing them with class schedules provided. You can go as far as sharing your schedule with roommates, so they know the times you are attending virtual classes.  

Online lectures 

With time management out of the way, the next step is to keep up with the flood of information that comes your way via lectures, zoom meetings, and canvas assignments. A straightforward way of dealing with classes' overlap is to treat your online courses as if they were in person. If your classes have pre-recorded lectures, which don't necessarily require any form of attendance, then try to watch the lectures as soon as they are posted. Allow yourself to create a routine as closely similar as you would with in-person classes.  

Attending zoom meetings can be discouraging if they don't require cameras and audio. However, missing out on these lectures can be costly late on as they are the best way to learn from your professor.   

Interact with classmates 

Living in an off-campus apartment already put a dent in social life at FAMU. One of the most affected parts of the college experience was the ability to meet new people in classes. Often enough, you would befriend a group of people and help each other out in classes. Simultaneously, it may seem impossible to recreate that same feeling while distanced learning; there are ways to connect with classmates. 

If you haven't already, try looking for GroupMe chats that have been made by your classmates. This serves as a gigantic group chat where you can get any questions answered, ranging from homework deadlines to midterms. Using GroupMe, you can also form study groups to help prepare for midterms and exams. If you are more of a Google Hangout fan, you can take the first step to create study groups with people from your GroupMe.   

Designated Study Spaces 

While you may not be conscious of it, having separate work and living spaces are vital to keeping your sanity. Significantly, in a time where we are essentially confined to the four corners of our FAMU apartments, it's clear that having designated workspaces will help us keep encouragement. Try to stay away from your bedroom when having zoom meetings, and instead go to your living room. If you're lucky enough to have a patio or balcony, try to listen to your pre-recorded lectures there as it won't provide any distractions that your room may bring.  

The most important to remember is that we are all going through this transitional period simultaneously. Both professors and students are adjusting to the new lifestyle that COVID-19 has forced onto us. However, that doesn't mean we can't make the best of it. If you would like even more tips on keeping up with online classes, College Info Geek has listed 11 tips to online courses, linked here.

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