Tips for Successfully Navigating Our Temporary Shift to Remote Learning

Taking courses online, even temporarily, could be a big change from how you are used to learning and living your day-to-day life! Here are some simple steps to make sure you stay on top of your coursework during this remote learning experience and time away from campus.

Your Class Experience

Whether your professor records a lecture for you to watch and listen on your own time (it is called “asynchronous teaching”) or you, your professor and your classmates all come together online at the same time to talk (it is called “synchronous teaching”), you need to:

  • Be present - No multitasking! Close email, browsers, messaging and social media!
  • Be prepared - Have your reading and assignments ready and in front of you
  • Take notes - Just as you would in person
  • Participate - Use chat and discussion boards as the professor tells you
  • Ask questions - Use office hours, email, telephone, etc., to ask questions

Assignments

Improve your opportunity for success in an online environment by more actively managing your responsibilities. You should:

  • Re-check deadlines for changes since classes were postponed by a week or as your professor changes their plans for the course
  • Find where your professors make announcements online and check it often
  • Find where your professors put assignment instructions and other course materials: readings, videos, problem sets, quizzes, syllabus, calendar
  • Find out how and where to turn in assignments - if you cannot find it, ask!
  • Continue to follow Merrimack’s Integrity Code with all of your assignments. 

Make Space

Find a suitable space for you to be in class and work to maximize your focus. Try to make sure that you have:

  • Control over your resources so that nobody comes by and moves your books or papers while you are not studying or in class.
  • A quiet place as free of disruption as possible.

Make Time

Make a schedule for when you need to be online for class and when you will do your work. You should:

  • Stick with your course schedule. For example, if you have philosophy class from 8-9:15 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, stick with that routine. Be in your workspace at 8 a.m., reading, studying or doing philosophy homework.
  • Build in a routine study schedule. Remember to schedule 2-3 hours per credit; if you’re taking 16 hours, you should be studying 32-48 hours each week.
  • Make changes as your professors request of you. Some elements of online learning may require course schedule alterations.
  • Tell friends and family so they can hold you accountable.

Check Your Email and Syllabus at Least Twice a Day

Begin every day by checking your Merrimack email account, your syllabi, Blackboard and any other course platform. Write notes or add to your calendar any announcements, assignments, readings, discussions, etc., and plan your time accordingly. Do the same at the end of the day for anything that will impact tomorrow’s plans. To help you remember, you may even want to build an email check and calendar update immediately after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Work Every Class Every Day

Do reading, homework, assignments for every class every day, even just a little bit. Doing one class a day seems like “focus”, but you risk losing track of your progress in your other courses.

Switch Tasks

Grinding will grind you down! Your brain works best on one task (reading, writing, note-taking) for about 45-60 minutes. After an hour, have a quick stretch or a healthy snack then move on to another task. You can finish it later with a clear head!

Ask For Help and Keep Appointments

Learning online can get lonely and can make it harder for people to notice obstacles you are facing. If you are having any problems or issues contact your professor and your coach immediately and be patient about their email response time.

Attend Video Conferences

Your Academic Success Coach and major advisors may hold video conferences. Make plans to talk with your health providers and counselors. This is much more than a snow day, so keep things as normal as possible!

 

How To’s To Help You

How to Communicate with Faculty

Unless your professor tells you otherwise, email is best to ask faculty questions about your course, what you are learning, or any problems doing your work. Briefly explain what is happening and ask when is a good time to chat online, talk on the phone, or video conference. To save time, try to catch them during office hours, tell them what times will not work for you, and/or give them three days and times when you are available.

How to Get Coaching
Academic Success Coaches will be available via video conferencing for regular coaching and to help students navigate remote learning. If you need coaching, have questions about remote learning in general or do not understand how video conferencing works, email asc@merrimack.edu or call us at 978-837-5278.


 

How to Troubleshoot Blackboard

If you have not already, download the Blackboard app on your iPad! If you are not sure how to do something on Blackboard, try visiting https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student or email AskIT@merrimack.edu or call 978-837-3500.

How to Get Tutoring

Support from the Writing Center, Tutoring and Math Center, Study Partners and Campuswide Tutoring will be available remotely through various online interfaces. Information on all tutoring can be found at www.merrimack.edu/21C.

 

How to Create Your Zoom Account

Please review our Zoom webpage for more information about setting up your account and using the technology. 

How to Talk with a Librarian

Please visit the library’s continuity page to see all the options available for you to talk with our librarians. You may set up an appointment with them or submit questions via chat, email or phone and more. 

Support Services 

Accessibility Support

Please review our Accommodations and Academic Support in a Time of Disruption webpage. Merrimack will continue to support all students who are signed up with the ASO. The expectation is that all current accommodations will continue - with some changes to adjust for the remote learning environment. If you have questions, please email the ASO at accessibilityservices@merrimack.edu.

Advising Support

Merrimack is planning for the reality of remote advising in preparation for registration for fall 2020 classes. Your advisor will be reaching out to you about how your remote advising will take place. Each school and department does advising in different ways and, for the most part, the same process will continue with the exception that it will happen remotely. In addition to your academic advisor, additional support will be available remotely by your school’s office staff, the registrar’s office and the staff in the Academic Success Center. At every point during the registration cycle, multiple campus professionals will be available to assist you.

The list of available fall courses is now available and you will register using MyMack exactly the same way that you have in the past. The registrar’s office will also be reaching out to you via email about the registration process/dates. If you have any initial questions about registration, please email the Academic Success Center. See Updated Academic Calendar

Campuswide Tutoring Support

Campuswide tutoring will continue to occur as much as possible using a variety of media. Some tutoring is being moved into WCOnline and some is being moved into Zoom. Still more, especially where fellows in math and economics are concerned, will be embedded in Blackboard course pages. The Campuswide Tutoring Calendar will be continuously updated as we learn more about tutorial offerings from supervisors around campus. If you have specific questions about tutorial offerings, please email tutoring@merrimack.edu.

Library Resources and Support

Librarians will continue to enhance your online learning with a variety of instructional and resource activities. Chat, email, online appointments and phone consulting are all available options. The digital collection of e-books and streaming videos may be accessed via the library catalog and there is support for gaining access to some print texts. Connect with the librarians at https://libguides.merrimack.edu/continuity.

Mental Health and Wellness Support

Please review our Mental Health and Wellness Resources page for additional information, including how to schedule counseling services with Hamel Health.   

Study Partner Program Support

Study Partner Program requests will be collected via the same method as before, by visiting this page. When your study partner emails you to set up a meeting, s/he will advise you about how to access the session in Zoom. Instructions and video support for access to those spaces will be provided. If you have questions about study partners, please email studypartners@merrimack.edu.

Tutoring and Math Center Support

All math-related tutoring will take place synchronously online. Instructions and video support for access to those spaces will be provided on the Tutoring & Math Center webpage. If you have questions about study partners, please email mathcenter@merrimack.edu.

Writing Center Support

All writing tutoring, whether with consultants or with writing fellows attached to your specific courses, will take place via WC Online’s synchronous online interface. You may preview this video to learn how to access WCOnline. If you have questions or concerns about access, please email writingcenter@merrimack.edu.

Textbooks and Campus Closure Issues

If you do not have the textbooks you need, please contact the Task Force at taskforce@merrimack.edu and they will help you get course materials shipped or accessible online.

Tools and Methods for Remote Learning

There are a number of tools to help you during remote learning, including:

 

Additional Questions and Challenges

Need help with any aspect of remote learning or experiencing any challenges? Contact the Academic Success Center.