The Do’s and Don’ts of Remote Learning

by Jenny Xiong, Education Marketing

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Now that the nation has tried out remote learning for the past months, the stats are in for how well schools performed in light of sudden developments. For this article, we looked at responses from students and teachers to determine what worked in remote learning and what didn’t.

DO:

Encourage student-teacher engagement. Unlike the convenience of in-person classes, online classes are often impersonal and lecture-based instead of discussion-based. It’s more important now than ever for teachers to put in the extra effort to engage with their students. For example, professors can try offering Zoom office hours for students who had questions but couldn’t really find the time to ask them during class.

DON’T:

Slack on taking attendance. Reports show a dramatic decline in attendance with remote learning. With their physical routine of going to school disrupted, many students report feeling unmotivated to attend class. Especially in these difficult times, it’s important to make sure students are properly attending class. It may be worth it to reach out to frequent absentees as well as their families to determine what can be done for their situation.

DO:

Be flexible! Students are unequally impacted by COVID-19, and some have been struggling to keep up with schoolwork while dealing with all the implications of the pandemic. Some students may have to take care of younger siblings or help out with their family’s financial situation. Compromises like accepting late homework or reducing workload are better than driving overwhelmed students away from engaging with education at all. It’s important to be lenient and sympathetic towards students experiencing complications outside of their control.

DON’T:

Expect all students to be equally equipped to handle remote learning. The widespread and devastating impact of the pandemic means many students are dealing with serious issues outside of school. Moreover, students living in households with reduced or no access to electronic devices and internet connection are inherently disadvantaged compared to classmates who do have access to those tools. In higher-ed schools where a significant portion of students are international students with diverse time zones, attending online classes is bound to be an added headache. Many colleges last semester made their classes pass-fail, meaning that students are given credit for finishing a class but will not have it impact their GPA. Compromises like these are necessary for times like these.

DO:

Create a defined schedule and stick to it. This one’s for educators and students alike. The freedom to choose your own schedule seems great at first, but the lack of structure can quickly send you down a spiral of unproductivity. Many students reported feeling unmotivated due to the fact that they’re not being held accountable by the set schedules and physical relocations of a normal in-person school day. There are plenty of tools to assist with creating a personal calendar and having a buddy for accountability purposes is also a great method for staying on track. This also helps with sticking to a healthy sleep schedule, as many students also noted that they’ve been sleeping and waking up much later without the need to get up for school.

DON’T:

Stay in bed all day. The thought of rolling over in the morning and getting right to work seems tempting at first, but we all know that staying horizontal isn’t conducive for getting tasks done. Moreover, studies show that working in bed exacerbates insomnia as our brains learn to associate the bed with anything but sleep. Instead, choose to set up a specific workstation where a productive mindset can truly shine. This has the added benefit of creating structure and allows the worker to leave the workspace at the end of the day and genuinely unwind.

DO:

Convert to a paperless flow. Schools that are still requiring printers and physical paper copies, or even asking parents to drop off completed assignments at school, are far behind in the game. The digital classroom’s backbone is digital document, and there is no tool more essential than a powerful PDF reader. From creating engaging course material to distributing textbooks to completing homework, there’s no end to how PDF can be utilized to truly win at remote learning. See our article here for how educators can use Foxit’s own PhantomPDF Editor to create the perfect digital classroom. For schools that want to commit to a more successful remote learning experience, our article here can get you started towards a seamlessly digitized school.

COVID-19 may have caught us underprepared for the Spring semester, but this time around we can take the fight to it. It’s more important now than ever that schools learn from their accomplishments and mishaps the past few months and open doors with full confidence in the Fall.


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