UC Answers: How do I get the most out of online classes?

Recent DAAP grad shares tips for how she succeeded in online classes

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/G7m70V46flU?rel=0

Q: What are your academic and professional goals?

Rutledge: Academically, I have always wanted to graduate college with a bachelor of fine arts degree, and this year I have achieved that goal. Professionally, I have wanted to use my photography to help serve others by acting as a catalyst through sharing stories of those whose voices would not otherwise be heard. 

Q: What has your experience with online courses been at UC?

Rutledge: I had taken one online art history course, and this past semester all of my Spring 2020 classes were moved to online due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Both in cases of expected and unexpected online experiences, I have been pleasantly surprised with how smoothly these classes have gone. 

Q: What are some of the advantages of taking a course online vs. in-person?

Rutledge: With online courses, you have more freedom and flexibility within your schedule. This not only allows you to adjust your class time to your day-to-day routine with work and other activities outside of school, but also it strengthens your time-management skills. 

Q: What were your expectations before taking online courses, and how did the experience compare to what you expected?

Rutledge: I honestly was a little nervous before my first online class because I knew it was up to me to make sure I was keeping up with my assignments and due dates. Coupled with the fact that I would not be interacting with my professor face-to-face, I thought online courses could be quite challenging. Those fears were quickly dispelled once the classes began. I found that it is not as daunting if I schedule and plan my class time and that you can still very easily contact your professors if problems should arise throughout the semester. 

Q: Have you had a favorite online learning experience, and what made it so positive?

Rutledge: My senior thesis class had student/professor check-ins every week via email. And every couple of weeks, we would have group WebEx video calls with the whole class to keep in touch with everyone. I really enjoyed the fact that we were able to keep up with our classmates and their work despite no longer meeting in person.

Q: Were there any particular professors who took a creative or innovative approach to online learning, and if so, could you describe what made it so?

Rutledge: In my elective Music of Woodstock class, the professor offered a lot of videos, links to playlists and movies for the class to access, making the class interactive and as fun as possible.

Q: What final advice would you give students who want to be successful in an online course?

Rutledge: I have found it helpful to schedule a specific time every day/week (depending on how you work best) as your designated class time. It also helps to find a quiet space with a good internet connection where you can work. You can change the days/spaces according to your schedule as needed, but I have found it to be less overwhelming to generally stick to the same time and place to do your work. Lastly, I would highly recommend to stay in contact with your professors throughout the semester via email or video calls to help stay on track. 

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