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Transition Online: Student Introduction to Remote / Online Courses

This guide made for students transitioning into online coursework at Forsyth Technical Community College.

Student Introduction to Remote / Online Courses

Getting Ready: Online Classes by Gretchen Benton

Forsyth Technical Community College is here for you! Many offices are currently operating remotely. Your Library has created this guide to help you transition into the online classroom. Interact with our poll to let us know what your needs are. Then scroll down to see specific resources for each topic area. Need more? Scroll to the bottom of the page to chat with a Librarian!

Top resources for you: Services Open, Forsyth Tech Cares, and Forsyth Tech Health Alert

Quick Tips

Online Transition Student Tips by Gretchen Benton

Having issues viewing the Quick Tips document? Click here to open an ADA compliant version in a new tab!

Poll

What skill would you like help with most?
Creating a Study Space: 0 votes (0%)
Time Management: 6 votes (40%)
Online Communication: 2 votes (13.33%)
Minimizing Distractions: 1 votes (6.67%)
Utilizing Campus Services: 0 votes (0%)
Stress Reduction: 1 votes (6.67%)
Computer Skills: 1 votes (6.67%)
Study Skills / Note Taking: 2 votes (13.33%)
Test Taking Skills: 0 votes (0%)
Conducting Online Research: 2 votes (13.33%)
Total Votes: 15

Start Here 1. Take the Poll 2. Review Tips 3. Scroll for more

Guide Creator

Create a Study Space

 

  1. Make sure that your study spot is exclusively for studying. If you study in your bed, you're likely going to get sleepy, so set up somewhere else.
  2. Keep your lighting in mind and opt for natural lighting if you can. Try studying near a window and if you can't, experiment with your lights to find something that works for you.
  3. If you have control over it,  adjusting the temperature of your study space as well. Ideally, somewhere between 69 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, but it might vary for you. Getting too chilly or hot while studying can be a huge distraction.  
  4. Before you start studying, make sure you have access to all the materials that you're going to need. Make sure that access is easy and quick. This can be snacks, drinks, charge cords, books, notes, your computer, and anything else you may need.
  5. Remove things that you don't need because they are likely to destroy your concentration and make you procrastinate. This extends to anything that distracts you. Turn off the TV (or Netflix), put away your game controllers, and/or put your phone on silent.   
  6. Make plans in advance to deal with possible derailments in your productivity. This means having a plan to address family and friends who distract you. Try having an open and honest conversation about your goals, so that they respect your boundaries during study time.
  7. Try switching up locations in between tasks. A change in your surroundings can be inspiring and boost focus.
 
Creating a study space that works for you can be difficult especially if you don't feel like you have everything you need. If you are struggling with this transition, please reach out to the Student Success Center at 336-734-7156 to see what resources may be available.
 

Time Management

 

View this excellent Youtube playlist by Lakeland Community College! In just over 30 minutes you will learn great time management practices.

Differences at Forsyth Tech: Instead of using Google Calendar we recommend using Outlook Calendar or your calendar within Blackboard. Since you already visit Outlook to check your email and Blackboard to complete your classwork, there is no reason to use a third website unless you prefer Google Calendar features. Also, view our list of Services Open now to view support available from the Forsyth Tech Student Success Center, Information Technology Services, Tutoring, and more!


Online Communication

 

Expect to use these types of online communication at Forsyth Tech. Keep in mind the best web browser to use for most of these options is going to be Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. If you do not have these browsers installed, install them. If you need help installing them contact the ITS department.

You may be asked to regularly communicate using the following platforms:

  • Blackboard - This is the main area where your course content is typically stored, where you access your grades and important class announcements. Your instructor may use discussion boards or other tools to have class discussions online. Need help navigating blackboard? Check this out and this.
  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra - This is a web conferencing platform. Your teacher may use it to hold live class sessions or they may use it to record lectures. No download is required and you can access live and recorded sessions using your phone. Consider downloading the app!
  • Outlook Email - This is where you will access email from your instructor, classmates, and institution.
  • MS Teams - While it is not widely used for classes, you may receive an invitation to join a Microsoft Teams online meeting or Team site as a part of a class. Keep an eye on Blackboard announcements and your email to ensure you don't miss an invitation.

Other Forsyth Tech announcement locations you should check regularly:

  • Health Alert - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
  • Techlink - Techlink houses links to your school email, college news/events, your class schedule, billing, grades, and much more!
  • Make sure you are signed up for TechAlerts! Alerts will notify you in the event of campus closings, emergency situations, campus events, or important reminders.
  • Social Media - Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

If you need to learn more about how to effectively take an online course contact the Center for Teaching and Learning by calling 336.757.3716 Monday-Thursday 8am-7pm or Friday 8am-2pm.

 

Minimizing Distractions

 

Without the structure of a traditional classroom, you may find it difficult to focus in an online course. Top distractions for students include social media, texting, television, and family, which can pull one's attention away from the task at hand and diminish productivity. It is important for all students to maintain a healthy school-life balance so their responsibilities aren't neglected, but online students in particular need to create structured plan to ensure they stay on track to achieve their academic goals. View the Youtube playlist below for recommendations you can use to minimize distractions.


Stress Reduction

 

Understand what stress is, how to recognize it, and know when you need to take a break or take action. Check out this article, Stress in College Students for 2019 (How to Cope) by the Student Success office at Western Governors University. I have included a short excerpt from the article here:

Healthy ways to manage stress.

  • Confront the stressor - Perhaps one of the best ways to manage your stress is to simply deal with the cause of it directly. If your busy schedule is making you anxious, sit down and see what you can change.
  • Spend time with loved ones - Surround yourself with people who you like to spend time with and enjoy their company. Being around someone who makes you feel comfortable can relieve a great deal of stress, even if you don’t talk about what’s troubling you.
  • Take a break - Between your classes, homework, and other obligations, you may find most of your days booked solid with plans, activities, and tasks that need to be done. If you feel overwhelmed by all that you need to do, take a break. Schedule an afternoon where you don’t have to do anything but read your favorite book or watch a movie. You may not be able to drop everything on your to-do list at once, but don’t hesitate to spend some time not doing anything.
  • Get professional support - You may find yourself needing more support than your loved ones can offer or grappling with stressors that are too much for you to deal with. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help from a professional. Your school likely has many support resources available to help, even if you are an online student.

If you feel like you need support for stress, please contact the Forsyth Tech Student Success Center at 336-734-7156 to discuss resources available.

 

Computer Skills

 

Need to boost your computer skills? Check out this free online course all about Basic Computer Skills.

This Basic Computer Skills course has a lot of lessons, but I highly recommend these for Forsyth Tech students:

Lesson 1: Getting Started with Your First Computer

Lesson 5: Downloading and Uploading

Lesson 9: How to Set Up a Wi-Fi Network

Lesson 14: How to Power Cycle a Device

Lesson 16: How to Keep an Old Computer Running Smoothly

And the entire installing/uninstalling software section!
 
If you have reviewed the information above and still have questions, please look up your issues at the ITS Solutions Page or submit a ticket for support with the ITS department!

Study Skills & Note Taking

 

View this Youtube playlist! This playlist is a little longer, so you probably can't watch them all in one sitting, but by viewing a few videos at a time you can learn strategies to improve your study skills. 

Check out this resource from Michigan State University (Techlink log-in may be required): Study_Habits_for_Online_Learning.pdf 


Test Taking Strategies

View this amazing learning modules from Red Rock's Community College, Learning Skills for Students. All the modules available are incredibly helpful, however, to focus specifically on test-taking skills I recommend:

 

Online Testing Tips

by Erica McMahon (Forsyth Tech Disability Services Office)

  1. Designate a testing space.
  2. Put up a “Do Not Disturb" sign.
  3. Set up space 15 minutes before the start time to allow for technical issues to be resolved before test time.
  4. Know the rules of the test.
  5. Use a clock near your computer so you can track how much time you have.
  6. Utilize a lockdown browser extension if you are prone to checking other sites while online.
  7. Most importantly, contact your instructor if you have issues with or do not understand the tips above!

Utilize Campus Services

Forsyth Technical Community College is a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives and transforming communities.

We want to help you navigate and remove barriers to your success. We want to help.

View a list of all Forsyth Tech Services Open

Unsure which service or resource you need? Reach out to Forsyth Tech Cares and a college representative will point you in the right direction.

Forsyth Tech Cares logo

 

A Quick Tip from Erica McMahon in the Disability Services Office (DSO):

If you feel you are not getting an accommodation for which you are approved or have technology issues, immediately contact your instructor. They may be new to online instruction and are trying to figure this out as they go. If the issue cannot be resolved, please contact the Disability Services Office.

Visit DSO on Techlink | Call DSO in the Student Success Center at (336) 734-7156 | Email: disabilityservices@forsythtech.edu

Conducting Online Research

For help conducting online research please view the following documents/guides created by our Dean of Learning Resources and Librarians (Forsyth Tech log-in may be required): 

Sleuthing the Internet  by J. Randel Candelaria

Alternative Search Engines by J. Randel Candelaria

Unreliable News by J. Randel Candelaria

Selecting a Research Topic by J. Randel Candelaria & Ted Labosky

Library Resources for Online Research

Ready to start your online research?

See the Library's Online Resources Techlink page to use a research database like:

NC LIVE

Gale

JSTOR

 

Need help?

Contact your FT Library. We are happy to help!

 

 

Chat online with the Forsyth Tech Library!

Thank you for viewing our guide!

Our team would love to hear from you!

 

Forsyth Tech Library:

Email: libraryref@forsythtech.edu

Call: 336-734-7219

Chat Online: "Ask a Librarian!"

 

For questions or concerns about this guide please email gbenton@forsythtech.edu and rcandelaria@forsythtech.edu