Please note that these are only suggestions, and your instructor may have more specific instructions.
Plan! Your Self-Care Practices
Learning can be challenging, especially when juggling many responsibilities. Consider: what are some ways you can take care of yourself throughout the semester? This might include taking walks, talking with a friend, checking in with a study group, or practicing meditation or yoga. Taking classes from home may offer a new combination of comfort and distraction compared to in-person learning. How will you prepare your mind and body to attend and complete your courses? If you will be working at your computer or attending a class for a longer time, follow guidance on maintaining a healthy posture. If you need a particular accommodation related to disability or neurodiversity, check out the resources on the Student Disability Services site. Need help communicating with your professor about your accommodation needs? Check out the Writing Center’s materials on Communicating about Accommodations and Accessibility Needs, which includes some sample emails.
Learn! …wait, but how do you learn?
Everyone is different when it comes to their learning styles and strategies that work best for them, and college courses may offer more flexibility and independence when it comes to working with material and understanding concepts.
Do you thrive as a multitasker or from singular focus on one project at a time? Perhaps you find certain kinds of work easier to do (or are less prone to distractions) in the morning or at night. If you’ve found yourself struggling to isolate distractions online, try one many platforms like Freedom that restrict your access to the internet, social media, or certain applications, or the Pomodoro technique to keep yourself on task in specific, focused periods of time and planned breaks in between.
Are you a learner who needs to plot out ideas with charts and diagrams? You could try using a digital brainstorming platform like Microsoft Whiteboard. Are you a written and/or audio note taker? Many students find that journaling or otherwise writing down what they are learning and working on can help them focus, remember material, and maintain continuity in their schooling. Try out these suggested methods for upping your note-taking game from Cornell University.
There are many options for learning! It’s a process. By recognizing how you learn best and using these techniques you can set yourself up for a successful learning experience. With that in mind, think about how you can track your semester’s progress in ways that work for you, and involve yourself in decisions about your own learning habits.
Engage! Launch Your Tech and Work Space
If you’re taking online classes, you will need regular access to a computer and a reliable internet connection. This is also true of many in-person and hybrid courses. Depending on the course, you may also need space to save and back up your work (this could be locally on your computer, a USB thumb drive, or cloud storage, or simply emailing it to yourself). Set up a document-naming convention so you can easily locate your work later (think of your file name as like an intuitive URL—for example: 2021StudentGuideCTL.pdf).
Some of your online classes may be organized asynchronously and others may meet synchronously (via Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra), and it’s important to plan accordingly. If your class involves a weekly online meeting and you share a space with family or roommates, try to coordinate a quiet and distraction-free space for the duration of the class. A pair of headphones with a microphone could also help cut down on distractions in shared spaces. Depending on your study preferences, you may want to try a study playlist or an ambient noise tool such as My Noise.
More Tools and Services. . .
- Do you need to borrow a laptop or other equipment?
- Check out Baruch’s Technology Loan Service
- Have you activated your Baruch library account and paid any fines so you can check out books or ebooks?
- Visit Newman Library’s Borrowing Library Materials page and the library’s guide to the CUNY-wide platform, OneSearch to learn how to locate library materials, including eBooks, print books, academic journal articles, and multimedia.
- Manage your tech!
- CUNY platforms are all known for having different password rules, which might make it that much harder to keep track of what’s what. Either by paper (PDF; links to template) or digitally, have a system.
- And try out these tips for creating secure passwords on your educational platforms.
- Check out “Cheat Codes” – a series of pro tips on free software, writing strong paragraphs, time management, space management, and even email etiquette, for students by students.
- Are you looking for a word processing program?
- All students enrolled in classes at Baruch have access to Microsoft Word through Office365.
- You could also try Google Docs or the open-source OpenOffice/LibreOffice.
↓↓ Use the buttons below to view tips and resources for different parts of the semester. ↓↓