Adjusting to online classes can be challenging! Here are a few tips to get the most out of your experience and connect with your instructor and fellow learners.
1. Review instructor feedback. Make time to review prior feedback and notes before class. Have a list of questions ready to ask about anything that isn’t 100% clear. SCPS instructors will make time for Q&A; they want you to get all you can from your courses! There are no stupid questions, only lost opportunities.
[Provide feedback, too! Let your instructor know if there’s something they did in class that you liked. This will help them improve their online teaching skills—they are looking for ways to engage you.]
2. Take photos of your work. Take photos of your work and share files through Canvas. This also gives you a digital record for the future!
[Feel free to send to photos of your work, photos of you creating your work, or photos of you attending class to Kristen at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to show prospective students what it’s like to take classes & create at Pratt!]
3. Make sure your files are in the right format. When it’s your time to upload files for a presentation or class assignment, ensure your files are the right type and size for uploading well before class begins so you’re not crunched for time at the last minute.
4. Turn on your camera.
I know. You didn’t brush your hair. However, if you have camera access, use it! It creates a more personal learning experience, allows the teacher to see your reactions, and connects you to other class members. Don’t be a silent observer! You paid for the class; you deserve to get ALL you can from it.
Understand that your instructor may not feel “camera-ready,” either. They are working hard to adjust to the online format. Finding the ideal light/angle may not be at the forefront of their priorities!
5. Use the chat box. Especially if you don’t have camera access, the chat box can be your best tool for communication. Make sure you are participating! It can also be a good way to get your questions in without interrupting at an inopportune time.
6. Check every tab. View every tab in Canvas—Files, Downloads, & Discussions—so you don’t miss any important content.
7. Capture comments. When instructors make comments on your assignments in Canvas, experiment with the best way to capture them for future reference. One method is to take a screenshot, retitle it, and save it to your class folder.
8. Download course files. Use Google Drive, Base Camp, an external hard drive, or a flash drive to store course files & class recordings after each session. NOTE: OneKey remains “live” for 31 days after a class ends. After that, class access is closed.
9. Network! We cannot emphasize this enough! Not only does this help with class content and assignments, it also creates a community and a networking base for the next stage in your career.
10. Use free search tools. org is a huge, wonderful resource! Download and save whatever is FREE and RELEVANT to your course of study or field of interest.
Special thanks to Roy Pachecano (Lecturer, Pratt SCPS; President, Portico R.E.I. LLC; Assistant Adjunct Professor, Columbia University) for helping out with this post! Roy is an amazing professor with the Pratt School of Continuing and Professional Studies’ Architecture Program.