My last day of college classes was last Thursday May 7th. Even though I had my last in-person lecture in mid-March before the coronavirus pandemic forced everyone to move out of the dorms and stay home, I have been attending my classes online to complete my final semester. I have taken online classes in the past, most of them over winter and summer breaks, but nothing could have prepared me for the new methods that would be used to continue education from home on a larger scale. This was the first time I engaged in “synchronous” remote learning, where classes took place at a scheduled time over Zoom and supplemental materials were posted to Blackboard, all of my online classes prior to this have been asynchronous, where I would have assignments to complete prior to a deadline instead of a specific time that I had to be online for a lecture.
9:45am: Wake Up and Drink Coffee
Hands down, the best part of online learning is being able to sleep in. I typically wake up only a few minutes before my first class is scheduled to start and make myself some coffee. My first class of the day is EGL 308: Single Author – Margaret Atwood’s Dystopias. We only have Zoom lectures for this class on Thursday mornings at 10am. Tuesdays are for watching lecture videos and Wednesdays are for posting responses to our readings on the course blog. Our Zoom meeting typically consists of discussing passages in the novels we are reading that we find the most relevant or interesting to the story. Recently we have been reading the MadAddam trilogy, earlier in the semester we read The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, her most popular books.
11:20am Finish Class and Start on the Next
Once I sign off of Zoom, I will go downstairs to sit with my parents and watch Governor Cuomo’s coronavirus update. My next class of the day is also EGL 308, but covers the works of Ernest Hemingway & F. Scott Fitzgerald. We finished our Hemingway unit in the first couple of weeks of online classes, and lately have been reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. For this class we watch a Voicethread recording and post to the discussion forum (usually to answer a question the professor asked us). May 7th was also my day to present so I sent in my slides covering the last three chapters of The Great Gatsby.
1pm French Zoom
I am usually done with my discussion forum for my Hemingway/Fitzgerald early, so I have some time to make something to eat before my 1pm French class on Zoom. What we do on the video conference changes everyday, but most days we will talk about our most recent assignments from Google Classroom, go over new vocabulary, use breakout rooms for a group activity, and/or have a quiz on Kahoot or Quizizz.
2:20pm French Class Ends/Working on Assignments
From 2:30-3:50pm was when I used to have my sociology class, but this class was changed to only use our large assignments (group debate, project, and paper) rather than smaller tasks everyday. On May 7th, I had my final paper to work on. I wrote about the ways social media changed us as a society, in both good ways and bad.
4pm Activism in American Drama Zoom Class
In EGL 309: Activism in American Drama, we have discussion board posts every Tuesday and Thursday and must reply to the “discussion leaders” for the day. On Thursdays, we meet via Zoom to talk about the plays we have been reading and the commentaries they give on American social groups. For our last meeting, we talked about what we would be doing for the final project of the course.
The biggest piece of advice I would want to share is to keep yourself on some sort of routine. Time management is the key to online classes, especially with all of the additional deadlines that will be added to your class schedule. All of my professors updated us within the first week of our online classes with a new list of assignments and due dates, and adding those to both a paper and digital calendar were essential to keeping me on track the past few weeks.