Fall 2020 Success

Fall 2020 is going to be different, to say the least!

Review the information below and give us a shout if you have questions or need assistance. Our peer coaches and tutors are glad to help out.  Drop us an email at studentsuccess@uca.edu or tutoring@uca.edu.

What you need to know for success in Fall 2020 Classes


First, here’s a quick guide to different types of classes (“instructional models”) that you might have this semester:

Traditional Face-to-Face (“f2f”)
Otherwise thought of as “regular” college classes, these classes require you to prepare by doing homework and then continue learning on-site in a classroom. This Fall, some of your classes may be split sections offered face-to-face.  This just means the faculty member has split the class in half and is offering it twice to allow for social distancing.
Success Tips:  DO the prep work (active reading, assignments) before class; GO to every class; ENGAGE in the class discussion and activities
Hybrid Delivery
There are several different forms of “hybrid” classes, but basically this means your class will meet and work f2f (when possible), online (as needed), and perhaps virtually through Zoom, GoogleMeet, or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. It’s going to be a mix. Some of the work and class sessions might be done “synchronously” or in real time.  Some of the work might be done “asynchronously” or on your own schedule. The advantage of hybrid courses is that they allow flexibility…and that is going to be needed this Fall.  The challenge, of course, is that it can be confusing what to do where and how.
Success Tips: Get organized fast!  You need to determine when your class is meeting f2f, virtually, or not at all (work is assigned online). Use a planner or calendar to record when you need to be where, and check this daily. Make sure you also record due dates and assignment dates (such as Weekly Online Discussion due, etc.). Finally, learn to use Blackboard, UCA’s Learning Management System.

Some professors may opt to offer their course completely online this Fall as either asynchronous (on your own schedule) or synchronous (virtual but at the scheduled time), or a combination of both.  You will need to use Blackboard and possibly Zoom or Google Meet to access your course. Note: If need arises, all courses are prepared to convert to online only, as well.  

Success Tips: Organization is key to doing well in an online class.  You have to keep track of the schedule and due dates, especially if the course is offered asynchronously, and be sure to participate in online discussions as assigned.  Use a planner.  Keep a running to-do list.  Find an accountability partner who is also in the class. You should also prepare a comfortable work place (an ergonomic chair, good lighting, and a comfortable position for your laptop or keyboard).  Headphones are also useful. Finally, learn to use Blackboard, UCA’s Learning Management System.

More strategies for this Fall include:
Stay on Schedule

Create a weekly schedule that includes class sessions, blocks for studying and working on assignments, and self-care time. Whether your class is meeting f2f or virtually (synchronously or asynchronously), plan when you will work on course assignments and do it. If it helps, stick to your original course schedule and work on those classes at that time, even if they are asynchronous. 

Success Tips: Students often think they’ll work on whatever needs to be worked on “when they get to it.” Don’t fall into this trap. Think of your classes as your job. You’re on the clock.  Develop a weekly schedule that includes set times to study, exercise, socialize (safely!), eat, binge Netflix, play video games, and sleep. Then follow your schedule!

Know your Tech

We are online this semester more than ever, so here are a few things to do:

  • Be sure you have access to a reliable PC or Mac computer, and good internet access.  (Note: Chromebooks will not work for testing if a lockdown browser such as Respondus is being used in a class.)
  • Know how to use UCA’s LMS, Blackboard, as well as Zoom and Google Classroom.
Improve your Study Skills and Habits

No one is born a perfect student. To improve your study skills, check out the many online StudentLingo workshops available through myUCA l StudentLingo. There are also helpful videos on time management, active reading strategies, test-taking skills, and ways to improve your focus on YouTube.  Need individual assistance? Contact a UCA Peer Coach or Tutor by making an appointment online or by emailing studentsuccess@uca.edu.

Success Tips: Students often try to study for long stretches of time. Don’t. It’s better for your brain to study for shorter periods of time (30 minutes?), take a short break to eat or check Instagram, and then study for another 30 minutes.  If you find your “breaks” are getting too long, set a timer!

Ask for help

College is an academic community.  As part of that community, you have peers and senior colleagues (professors and staff!) here to help you. Visit your professor’s office hours (many are online this semester), or contact a tutor in Tutoring Services or the Center for Writing and Communication for help with an assignment or even with the technology.  Concerned about your finances? Contact the Office of Financial Aid. The Counseling Center is also available for free assistance if you’re feeling anxious or stressed out.  They even offer tele-counseling!

Success Tips: Take charge of YOUR education!  It’s your degree. It’s your learning.  What do you need to be successful?  Do the work, but ask for help when needed.  (It’s also your tuition and fees, so use your campus resources!)

Don’t Stress about Online and Don’t Give Up!

This semester may have unique challenges, but it can be done if you commit to the success strategies outlined above. Remember, we’re all in this together. Here are several resources that might help if you’re concerned about online learning:

???   Have questions or need help? Email us at studentsuccess@uca.edu