Dr. Adam Brooks’ Advice for Suddenly Going Online

Mar 27, 2020

Dr. Adam Brooks (Communication Studies) is the Director of the Speaking Studio and Assistant Director of the Public Speaking Program at C&IS. Read below for his advice to students on making the sudden jump to online learning.

1. You are going to get a lot of emails. A lot.

You’re going to have to plan for how you respond to the deluge of having 5 courses that are all going to be required to communicate with you via email and to check in with you from time to time. The habit of checking your emails while you are doing other things is going to overwhelm you and make you feel like you are going to get something caught in the cracks.
Plan a path to managing your email.

Make a folder for each class and as emails come in for that class you can put them in that folder. Or you can set aside times each day when you are going to check your email from school and only open the emails when you have the time to respond to them. Either way make sure you put the emails where you can retrieve them from time to time.

2. You are going to need to plan for each class.

My suggestion is that you get a print calendar or planner and put the due dates for each assignment in your planner. Make a check list for each class similar to what I’ve given you for COM 123 and do that for the rest of your classes.

Each of your classes is likely to be set up differently, some will require you to do discussion posts, some will ask you to do zoom video conferences, some will ask for weekly check-ins, some will allow you to progress at your own speed. Do not expect coordination on this, instead prepare for different requirements and try to keep them all separate.

You need to bracket out when you are going to work on each class for each day of your week. Use your checklist of due dates to guide how you manage your time, but remember that you’ll need to spend time each day plugging away at some of your classes so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Swallow the frog. If you have the option of doing work asynchronously then I’d tackle the most difficult task first, then you can use the feeling of accomplishment to finish less onerous tasks. Or you can get the smaller things out of the way so you have time to take down the big stuff.

3. You are going to have to communicate more frequently than you did before.

If you are struggling you have to let someone know sooner rather than later. Did something happen that shaped your ability to do your work? We are all adjusting to new realities and the only way we can get through things is to communicate early and often.

4. Give grace.

Everyone is thrown into this last minute, we are all trying to do our best. I know you are doing the same. If something doesn’t work, or if there are issues try to be gracious to the people running things. At the same time, control what you can control, don’t put things off until the very last minute and you’ll get more help than you need.

5. You can do this.

We can do it together.