5 Tips for International Students in Online Classes

5 Tips for International Students in Online Classes

Friday, April 3, 2020

Feeling distracted, challenged by online group work, or unable to follow your professor’s live lectures? Here are ideas we gathered from UNH students, staff and faculty (and some great online resources) to succeed in our new normal:

1. Keep a Routine: Vlad, a UNH sophomore in Neuroscience & Behavior shares how he’s adapted: “creating a routine is really important, I make myself wake up at the same time every day and go for a run and I study after as if I had a lecture at this time, I’ve allotted time for studying and breaks that way time actually flies and you don’t feel that bored. I also started exercising twice a day, I feel like that really clears your head and helps you maintain a healthy level of activity, it’s easy to get used to not moving all day.”

  • Create a schedule - Along with set study hours for each class (some students are finding it helpful to keep to the same schedule they had on campus), include breaks, times for meals, exercise and relaxation. All of this is essential. Set up an extra clock on your computer so you can keep in mind Durham (ET) time.
  • Do one thing at a time – Don’t multi-task; it isn’t effective.
  • Turn off distractions – Try a tech-blocking tool like Cold Turkey.
  • Tell your family or housemates your school schedule and say “no” to interruptions.
  • Dress for success – Don’t stay in your pajamas.  Dress as if you are going to class or work.
  • Clear your head – If tech isn’t the only distraction, try meditation. The Insight Timer app offers free guided meditations that can help you learn how to meditate and clear your mind.

2. Use Online Tricks of the Trade: Use online tools to your advantage. Re-watch recorded lectures. English learners are telling us that they are better understanding lectures because they can now re-watch them. Your professor doesn’t record? Just ask. Add captions to understand even more.  SAS offers free assistive technology like Read&Write that can read aloud text to you or provide good translations of text.

3. Master Group Work Online: We're hearing group work online is proving difficult for many students. Here are some ideas from experts:

  • Communication is key - establish clear guidelines around when, where and how your group will communicate with each other.
  • Different time zones? World Time Buddy is a world clock, a time zone converter, and a meeting scheduler.
  • Identify what project activities must be accomplished, in what order and by when.
  • Lastly, don't be afraid to talk to your professor - provide regular group updates, which can then be used to track progress and mediate concerns.

4. Get Help When You Need It: It may look different now, but there is subject-area, study skills & IT help available at UNH. TA’s are offering Zoom sessions. CFAR has a great Instagram feed with super helpful info, like special study sessions in Anatomy & Physiology, Chem and Bio, as well as tips from their peer mentors. Can’t access WebCat or have IT issues? Check out IT Zoom hours  Not sure where to get help? Contact Gigi in OISS (your Academic Transition & Integration Advisor) for other ideas. Professors are also finding their way in this new normal.  Don’t assume they know you are in a different time zone or that they haven’t communicated something clearly. Be brave and let them know.

5. Create Community: We are all missing hugs from friends and just being together. Luckily there are other ways to connect. Zoom people at home, join BWB, or attend Virtual Circle on April 9 & 23 (See link in Monday’s OISS email).

Want more info? Check out these helpful sites:

UNH resources and updates

Tech Tools for Online Learning (Purdue Global)

Time Management & Organization Apps (College of William & Mary)

Tips for Group Work (Drexel University)

Challenges facing online learners (Purdue Global)