2020-2021 Academic Success

This year has been different, to say the least, and Spring 2021 will continue to be so!

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 Spring 2021 Classes

First, here’s a quick guide to different types of classes (“instructional models”) that you might have in the Spring 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 Spring, 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.
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Success Tips:  DO the prep work (active reading, assignments) before class; GO to every class; ENGAGE in the class discussion and activities
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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.
  • Face-to-face (f2f) sessions may be held in some classes this Sring, with social distancing and masks required as needed.
  • Synchronous class sessions meet online in real time.  You will need to be online during the scheduled course time with your camera and mic ready.
  • Asynchronous class sessions allow you to work independently online.  
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.).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.
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Online

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.   Remember, 

  • Synchronous class sessions meet online in real time.  You will need to be online during the scheduled course time with your camera and mic ready.
  • Asynchronous class sessions allow you to work independently online.  
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.
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More strategies for academic success this year include:
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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 year 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!

“Go” to Class … Even Online

When you “go to class” online, prepare as if you were going to an actual classroom.

DO make sure your workspace includes a supportive chair, good lighting, and all of the materials and technology needed for class.

DON’T attend class while lying in bed or driving!

DO participate in online classes, just as you would in a f2f class.  Have your camera on.  Be ready to unmute and respond to questions. Use the chat feature when prompted. Engage with your learning!

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 year 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