This week marked the beginning of something that no other students have experienced in the College’s 170-year history: a rather empty campus with classes happening through a synchronous remote learning environment.  

The transition to online learning was eased thanks to the College’s Tech and Trek program, but there will be still be bumps and questions along the way. To help you navigate through these uncharted waters as smoothly as possible, Jennifer McCreight, Ph.D., director of the School of Education, Civic Leadership, and Social Change, created a list of her best tips and tricks for remote learning. 

Here are Dr. McCreight’s best tips and tricks: 

Keep a set schedule. Many people who regularly work from home say this is critical to their success! Make sure to block out time to study, to write, and to practice for presentations – and enjoy doing so in your pajamas! 

Find a quiet space. This one can be tricky, but it’s so important. As I write this, I am in my bedroom using an electric fireplace as a desk, with a pug curled at my feet – and for the time being, this space is peaceful, and mine. My family and I are carving out areas around the house for ourselves, as we all realize we have different routines and different environments in which we work and learn best. Consider doing this with your family, too. 

Communicate, communicate, communicate! Everyone you’ve connected with and found support from at Hiram is still here – we promise! That is one thing that has not changed – even if the platform through which we deliver this support is different. Feel free to set up Zoom meetings or send us an email. Take advantage of virtual tutoring sessions. In the midst of new and unexpected challenges, we are here to support you!   

Now is the time to use OneDrive, and to back up ALL of your work! I know, I know, you have heard this one before – but seriously. Back up your work! Your OneDrive platform is a GREAT place to do this, and can be connected to many of your apps (including Notability, where I know a lot of you keep very important documents!). During a time when digital documents are critical, be sure to take the necessary steps to protect and save your hard work! 

Take a walk! Do some yoga! This is hard. There’s no way around that. Practicing social distancing and facing the cancellation of a myriad of events and experiences you were looking forward to can feel isolating. Make some sort of physical activity a priority during this time to try to alleviate some of this stress. Walk your dog, pull up a YouTube yoga video (I highly recommend Yoga with Adrienne!), or go for a run – this intentional practice will do you good, and will help refresh you as you continue your coursework and step into new daily rhythms. 

Try to mimic what worked for you during face to face classes – using your technology! We are so fortunate at Hiram to all have our Tech and Trek iPad and Apple Pencil in hand, and with internet providers like Spectrum offering free internet during this time, we can all stay connected to one another with our technology. With this in mind, use your tech to replicate in-person experiences as much as possible while studying. If you’ve always met up with classmates to study for exams, try doing something similar in Zoom. If your professor offers screencast lectures, be sure to review them, and reach out with any questions you have over email. Raise your hand or ask questions through the chat function in Zoom, just as you would have in person – your faculty members want to hear from you!   

by Jenelle Bayus

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