Remote learning at Peabody has some of the same features as in-person learning: dedicated and expert faculty, engaging courses, access to materials from the Friedheim Library and its skilled staff, and plenty of academic support. There are, of course, differences as well: reliance on both familiar and new technologies, accessing help from a distance, and the need for different strategies for success. Below are some tips to help you maximize your learning.
If you want just a quick overview, read this. For more in-depth suggestions, continue below.
Create Your Space
A dedicated, comfortable study area will help you to focus and be organized. Thinking of it as a “work” space will put you in the right mindset and make you more productive. Plus, you will always have at hand the supplies, books, etc. that you might need for your studies. Depending on your housing arrangements, it may also have use as other living space, or be used by others, and that’s okay—just try not to use your bed or a sofa, which will make it harder to get into “study mode.”
Staying focused during an online class session, or while you are doing independent work, will require eliminating distractions. The easiest ways to do that are to
Develop a Schedule
Some of your learning may be synchronous and some may be asynchronous, and some may be a combination. If you have fewer times for class meetings, it will be up to you to create the times. The bonus to that is you can decide which times work best for your living situation and personal preferences. Developing and sticking to a daily schedule will keep you on track. Schedule the times to attend a course or the outside work for it, and include not just assignment due dates but also block out time in advance to work on the assignments. Give yourself a start and stop time, just as if you were going to class, and make sure to schedule breaks. For more help with time management and study breaks, check out these resources.
Even though courses are occurring remotely, they are not solo affairs. Faculty are eager to engage with you and your classmates. Your participation will make the experience richer for you and your fellow students. Try forming a small study group with other students or collaborating on an assignment (if permitted by the instructor, of course). Offer to help other students who may be grappling with understanding a concept. Try to take advantage of the times your instructors may offer to meet “outside” of class. There may be special departmental programs or guest lectures or performances that you could attend that would enhance your studies. Through these various ways, you can dive you’re your academics and grow as a student.
Help for Courses
For a quick overview about course help, go here. For detailed information, continue reading.
All students, at some point, need help for a course and Peabody support is available through multiple avenues. Students’ instructors are always the first and best resource, and your faculty will let you know how to work with them individually or in small groups. Some courses have Graduate Assistants (GAs) or Teaching Assistants (TAs), graduate and undergraduate students who have been selected to assist teaching the course. They also will be available for additional help.
Free tutoring in specific subject areas is also available to undergraduate and graduate students (with the exception of DMA students) during the fall and spring semesters. It’s always best first to reach out to faculty and/or GAs and TAs for extra help; after that, if tutoring support is needed, submit your request.
Advising has resources and study aids on a range of topics that might also be useful. You can also email Advising or schedule an appointment to discuss any problems and develop your action plan. Peer Advisers can be a terrific resource, too; they don’t provide tutoring, but can share strategies and provide support.
Sometimes, difficulties in courses can be due to personal challenges. Student Affairs provides support and connects students to broader JHU services.
Remote learning requires the necessary technology. Peabody has a list of technology requirements and recommendations, along with a link to request financial assistance for purchasing them, here.
In addition, there are essential tools and platforms that you will need to use for communicating and learning:
The Johns Hopkins University portal is your entryway to many Hopkins services, platforms, and resources, and has a people search function, which is handy for contacting faculty. Spend some time gon myJHU as there is much to discover within it.
Make sure to set up and check daily your JHU email account. Don’t miss out on the important Peabody announcements and communications that are sent to through it!
The JHU Student Information System (SIS), among other functions, holds your academic record and is the system through which you add, drop, and withdraw from courses. Always check your enrollments in SIS to confirm you are on the course roster. If not, you will not have access to the course’s Blackboard site.
Blackboard is Peabody’s Learning Management System and houses the syllabi, asynchronous instruction, assignments, exams, and other information related to your courses. Once you are enrolled in a course, you will automatically be enrolled in its Blackboard site. Peabody offers Blackboard support here.
Below is more Blackboard information from Johns Hopkins Center for Education Resources:
Many instructors will use Blackboard as the primary method for delivering asynchronous course content. Keep in mind that instructors use Blackboard differently and will choose specific tools based on their course goals. For example, some instructors may rely heavily on the Discussion Board in Blackboard, while others may only post links to course content.
Zoom is a cloud platform that many instructors may use for video and audio synchronous instruction, office hours, or even just getting a group of students together. It is free for you to use. Your instructors or the courses’ Blackboard sites will tell you how to access the related Zoom “rooms.” It is a good idea to test your camera and audio before using Zoom before courses begin. Also, make sure you know the Zoom protocols that your faculty want you to follow, such as when to have cameras and microphones on, using the chat function, and sharing screens. Peabody offers Zoom support here.
If you have other technology questions or issues, Peabody offers general information technology support here.