How to make the most of learning this fall

Remote Learning

Pacific professors share tips with students on how to thrive remotely

How can you thrive in remote classes? Here are some ideas from University of the Pacific professors.

Ken Albala, Professor of History
Pretend this is a regular class. Use the technology to your advantage. You can raise questions in chat space or by raising your hand electronically. Conversations can go on easier online than in a large lecture space. Your professor can and will see and recognize you, so be sure to keep your video on for live synchronous classes. And if you're in your pajamas for an early morning class, just keep your camera focused on your face!

Elizabeth Basha, Associate Professor and Chair, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Engage in your classes just as you would normally, so try to stay off cell phones and not use all the computer “opportunities” (Google and email and chat tools are always so close…). Also, create a schedule for non-class time to help focus and make sure it has some planned down time (away from the computer, hopefully). To help with resistance, set a timer for 20 minutes and just do the planned task for at least that amount of time – it often turns into more, but even if it only works for 20 minutes, that still counts. Turn off notifications when trying to focus. Move around regularly and stretch or take a short walk to wake back up. Enjoy chocolate! Try again the next day.

Laura Hallberg, Program Lead, Doctoral Program in Transformative Action in Education & Assistant Professor
Find ways to connect with your classmates outside of the regular class space (Zoom, Canvas, etc.) Set up a Slack channel or WhatsApp group (or other text/messaging platform) to connect socially and don’t include your instructor. It’s important to have space to build relationships that aren’t just about class content or assignments or group projects -- although you can use Slack/WhatsApp/etc. for those things, too, it shouldn’t be the only thing. In a face-to-face setting, you organically chat with each other before class, as you’re waiting for the professor to start; you linger after class to make plans for a group project or to grab coffee. In the online space, these kinds of connections have to be deliberate and consistent so use these tools to say hi, to check in on how folks are doing, plan a virtual chat over coffee, etc. And don’t be afraid to be the first one to suggest it – almost everyone needs and wants this kind of connection but worry it’s going to be bothersome or annoying. I promise, once it gets going, you’ll be glad you did!

Benom Plumb, Associate Professor of Music, Program Director for Music Industry Studies and Music Management
Be sure to give yourself some breaks because it is not healthy to be sitting in front of a computer screen for eight-plus hours each day. Take some time throughout the day to do some self-care by going for a walk or getting some fresh air. Also, turn on your video during your classes. Seeing each other's faces helps build community and goes a long way in making classes as close to in-person as possible.

Keith Smith, Associate Professor of Political Science
I think the main thing is you've got to be intentional about being present when you're in class. Your environment matters when it comes to remote learning, so it's important to find a dedicated space to help block out distractions while you're in class.