By Maria Dinh —

As a response to COVID-19, the university has offered hybrid, distance and remote courses for the fall 2020 semester. Students are either attending in-person classes a couple times a week, meeting synchronously through Blackboard/Zoom or completing distance ed courses online. Professors have also given students the option to complete their hybrid course 100% online only for those who don’t want to attend class half in-person, half online.

Logging into a remote class in a full household can feel really chaotic. Working in the comfort of home can be unmotivating and distracting. Here is some advice for an online working environment:

Have a Designated Work Area.

Not everyone is blessed with a private home office to do all of their studying. Work on a desk or a kitchen table, hopefully near a good Wi-Fi connection.

It is recommended that students wear headphones with a microphone during a conference so they can focus on the lecture and participate. On Blackboard, there can be an echo during online lecture when the microphone is on. Make sure the microphone setting is muted so others can listen to the professor.

Junior CIS major Tatiana Aliaga-Mendoza had to transition from in-person to remote learning in the Spring of 2020. Aliaga-Mendoza said she keeps the essentials on her desk when she’s in class.

“I always have some water with me, my planner to write down assignments, a notebook since it’s harder to take notes on my laptop, and maybe a snack if I have back to back lectures,” she said.

Plan a Work Schedule.

Maintaining a work schedule is essential to staying on top of things.

Talk with roommates/family members on a work schedule to have quiet times for synchronous lectures on Blackboard or Zoom. Working from home can be distracting so it is important to stick to a focused routine.

Set reminders.

It’s important to maintain schoolwork and remember deadlines for assignments.

Distance ed courses don’t meet a couple times a week like in-person classes do. Distance ed courses are more lenient, but have important dates for assignments and exams. Writing down assignments in a planner or Google Calendar are a great way to stay organized. Download the Blackboard app and Microsoft Outlook app with notifications on for when professors make an announcement.

Review recorded lectures.

On Blackboard, there is a menu bar where recorded lectures are located for students to go back and watch what they might have missed. Some professors use Panopto for recorded lectures.

This program has shortcuts where students can click on the title of the slide and the video jumps on the time bar where the professor talks about the slide. Panopto even has a section for taking notes synchronized to the time of the recording.


So is it worth it to attend classes if the option is given?

“I think there is a lot of value to students learning in the classroom setting,” Brian Barnes, a philosophy professor at U of L said. “As a student, I found classroom interactions with faculty and other students to be invaluable for my learning. On the other hand, I don’t believe I should use my platform as a professor to coerce students into showing up when they feel unsafe during a public health emergency. The class interactions are recorded, and I believe that many students are capable of making good decisions about structuring their learning with online content. Again, much is lost in this format, but I do think it’s important that students have an option to learn in an environment where they feel safe.”

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal