Adapting to Virtual Learning

Maryville University on-campus students are finishing the spring semester via a virtual learning format as a result of the developing coronavirus pandemic. Below are several tips from Maryville’s Division of Student Success to help make virtual learning a fulfilling experience. The team also shares how students can access student support services virtually — just as if they were on campus.

“Our goal is to maintain the same level of support – if not more – for students in this new, virtual format,” said Julie Krebel, director of operations and communication strategy for the Division of Student Success. “We know the transition to virtual learning was unexpected, but we’ve been able to pivot quickly and help students adapt to their new virtual environments. We also know there will be challenges students and their families face along the way, and our team is ready and available to help problem solve so students can focus on their learning. We keep telling students: we’re still here for you, it just looks different.”

Identify a Designated Study Space
Create a space that is meant only for studying. Hide or organize your materials so that the school-related things you need to do are more available than distractions. It’s a good idea to avoid studying on your bed or on the couch, and instead designate those areas for relaxing after schoolwork is over.

Keep a Regular Routine
Maintaining a schedule is a helpful tool to manage stress and stay motivated. Write out a daily schedule that includes class, homework and downtime. Keep your schedule as close to possible as your on-campus schedule. It’s also important to schedule time for sleeping. Experts even recommend giving yourself one hour before bedtime to put away your smartphone, iPad or computer and wind down.

Take Breaks
Don’t try to study for long periods of time. It’s a good idea to take intermittent breaks, look away from your screen and get up and move. Consider using a timer to help you focus and remind you to take a short break. Use your break time to eat a healthy snack and drink water. You can also step outside for a few minutes or go for a quick walk around the block.

Stay Engaged in Class by Asking and Answering Questions
Many classes are now taking place via Zoom where instructors and students can meet in virtual classrooms. The Maryville life coach team hosted several Zoom practice sessions last month, with nearly 800 students in attendance. You can be just as engaged via Zoom as if you were in the classroom. There are many features in Zoom to enhance virtual learning, including virtually raising your hand or asking a question via the chat feature. You can also react during a meeting by sending a thumbs up or clapping to communicate without interrupting the speaker. Instructors and students are also able to screen share, or collaborate on a white board.

Customize Your Zoom Background
You can customize your virtual Zoom background with one of 10 fun Maryville images. The backgrounds include Gander Quad, the Donius University Center, Maryville’s Cyber Fusion Center and the inside of Anheuser-Busch Hall 3245. Download the backgrounds here.

Reach Out to Your Life Coach
The Maryville life coach team works with students throughout their Maryville journey as academic advisers, career counselors, student support experts, mentors, friends and coaches. You can email, call or text your individual life coach or send a message to to schedule a 1:1 Zoom call or phone call.

Visit the Student Success Hub
The Student Success Hub is located in each student’s Canvas dashboard, and contains robust information on academic support, career development, utilizing CliftonStrengths and access to Smarthinking, Maryville’s 24/7 online tutoring service.

Ask a Librarian
You can still get help accessing Library databases or answers to your research questions (like how to correctly cite sources), just as if you were popping into the library. The 24/7 Library Chat is always available to address your library-related questions by sending a text to (314) 207–4747. The Library is also hosting weekly “Library Drop-ins” on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST via Zoom. You can ask your questions via this link.

Reach Out to a Peer Tutor for Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can schedule an appointment with a peer tutor anytime via this link. Peer tutors are available free of charge to assist students virtually with specific subjects, assignments or projects. Tutors are not only knowledgeable in their subject areas, but they are also knowledgeable in study skills, time management and test taking strategies.

Stay Connected Virtually to the Campus Community
The Divisions of Student Success and Student Life are hosting virtual programming for students to remain connected to the campus community. Upcoming virtual programming can be found online at Student Success Virtual Programming and GetInvolvedMU.

For more information, including several research-backed study strategies, download the Division of Student Success’ new “Adapting to Virtual Learning” guide.

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