Isenberg Online MBA Students Offer Tips for Learning Remotely
April 07, 2020
We reached out to students who know all about online learning to get strategies for staying connected virtually: Lea Herrick and Christyn Fagan are both Isenberg Online MBA students, but they're both also intimately familiar with Isenberg's on-campus community because they work for the school. They're offering their own hard-earned strategies for getting the most out of remote classes.
Lea Herrick is an academic advisor for graduate students at Isenberg—after working with the school for about a year, she became a student in the Online MBA program herself. She says that getting used to working with professors online and communicating with classmates and project team members all around the world via laptops took a little time, but that a few simple rules have really helped her feel satisfied and successful with remote education. She says, “I hope these tips will help all our Isenberg students who are diving into remote learning for the first time!”
Organization is key! Take advantage of preview week to read the class syllabus and schedule your work throughout the semester to the best of your ability. For example, make a list of to-do’s each week and block off times in your calendar to get it done!
Do not hesitate to ask questions. The faculty are very responsive and welcome all questions, big or small. Most classes also have discussion boards for you to ask questions of your peers. Often your question may already have been answered in these discussion boards so check them frequently!
Check your UMass email all the time! Faculty will send updates and changes to the course to your UMass email so it should become your best friend (or forward it to an email you check every day).
Get ahead and stay ahead. Life happens so if something unexpected pops up mid-semester you will be glad you didn’t procrastinate!
If you are having trouble or you have an unexpected life event that is getting in the way of your coursework, don’t struggle alone. Always speak with your faculty member about any issues early so that they can be as helpful as possible. Often, the longer you wait to communicate, the less they can do to help.
Christyn Fagan works as Isenberg’s associate director of communications, and she’s in her final semester of the school’s Online MBA program. Watching the on-campus community transition to virtual learning because of the global pandemic crisis, she’s on the same page with all the other students who are due to graduate this spring. “I’m also bummed not to be able to celebrate my accomplishments in May at commencement,” she says. As a veteran online student, she assures those who are new to the format that a few adjustments can make it easier: “You will find that you can learn more than you think!”
Designate a space for work! It’s very tempting to lounge on the couch or in bed, but if you can, I highly recommend a space that is just for work so you can focus!
Zoom can be overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to unmute yourself, participate, and ask questions! The more you do it, the more comfortable you get.
Communicate with your family or roommates about when you need focus time so they know when not to interrupt.
Be accountable! I print the syllabus and check off all assignments as I go to keep myself on track—putting reminders in your phone can help with long-term assignments!
Find ways to still do the things that make you happy! Get some sunshine, read a book for fun, listen to music, and try to see the light at the end of the tunnel.