Tips for staying productive while working from home

With the unprecedented occurrence of the COVID-19 coronavirus students at the University of Indianapolis have been removed from their usual routines. The spread of the coronavirus has triggered many safety precautions worldwide, as well as at UIndy. 

The university has opted to move all classes to an online setting, they have canceled all remaining extracurricular events and encouraged students to finish the rest of the semester at home. Many students have previously taken online courses, but the transition to conducting all coursework through the remote learning format presents a unique set of challenges.

Graphic by Daniela Gomez

Academic Success Advisor Patricia Thacker said that the Academic Success Center is still offering many of the same services, including individual appointments with students. Instead of connecting with students face-to-face, however, they have transitioned to contact by email, phone and video conferencing.

Academic Success Center Executive Director for Student Development Debbie Spinney said it is especially important during this time to practice good time management. She said that they provide a six-week calendar on the ASC online resource page, where students can track all of their assignments, deadlines, and more. She said that it is very helpful to set up and maintain a schedule in order to keep up with academic requirements, considering that it is easy to get caught up in sleeping, watching television and other distractions at home.  

According to Thacker, one way to promote good time management is to have a designated workspace to study. She said that it is best to avoid working on your bed or in front of a television and to put your phone away while doing homework to avoid social media distractions.

Spinney said it is also very important for students to be intentional about communication with their professors during remote learning and to be quick to reach out to a faculty member when there is any confusion. She said that it is important for staff and the students to stay as connected as possible since there is no longer any in-person communication.

According to Spinney, the ASC has maintained contact with students by switching from face-to-face meetings to online video conferencing. Their channel can be accessed by going to the Student tab on the myUIndy site and clicking on the Academic Success Center tab where students can find their resources. 

Along with this, they can find a yellow banner at the top, labeled Online Learning Resources, that will pull up the six-week calendar, links to external tutoring and links to the math lab, writing lab and tutors. Tips for online learning are also listed, including how to build a disciplined study plan and weekly schedule, eliminate distractions, heighten academic communication, and sharpen online study strategies. 

Students can also utilize remote peer tutoring services by emailing asc@uindy.edu with their particular needs, and the Academic Success Center will set them up with an appointment coordinated with the tutor’s schedule. 

Spinney said that several publishers of textbooks are offering free online tools for students. Follet Bookstore is partnering with RedShelf to offer free access to eBooks. As for students with disabilities, software companies are offering free accessibility tools. Zoom, for example, has a closed-captioning option they are offering free of charge during this time. 

“One of the things that we always recommend for students to do is go to their textbook publishers’ websites, because oftentimes they will provide supplemental information like study tests, study guides and chapter outlines, and hopefully they have increased that presence now,” Spinney said.

According to Spinney, it is also a good idea to go to any company’s website and check for special offerings available now. Many wireless phone companies are offering free data packages and better internet for the next couple of months to assist consumers during this unprecedented time.