Whether this is your first semester at UMBC or you were with us in the spring, it’s clear we are all still adapting to learning and connecting within a virtual community. Some days you may feel like you have a good handle on online learning, while other days may feel overwhelming. We understand and want to ensure you that this ebb and flow is normal!
UMBC’s faculty and staff are committed to ensuring you have all of the resources and support you need to have a successful semester. Yes, we are virtual, but similar to in-person learning, it’s often the extra steps you take to stay organized, manage your time, and utilize campus resources that influence the outcome of your semester.
We encourage you to check out The Academic Success Center’s Online Learning Resource website, which includes a series of videos and a link to an interactive module to prepare you for success.
The Division of Information Technology’s (DoIT) Learning Online website also includes some helpful information about how to make the most of the technology you are using for your classes.
If you are looking for a student’s perspective, see what some of our OAPA peer advisors have to say about how they’ve navigated online learning:
Note: Not all online classes are similarly structured. Some of your courses this semester may be synchronous, meaning you meet with the instructor and your class online at the same time, while others may be asynchronous, where your instructor provides you the course content to access at any time.
“Personally, I have found listing all the assignments I need to complete for the week on my laptop to be the most helpful to keep me organized. It can get overwhelming at times, but setting a schedule and planning the day can help tremendously. I've found myself doing assignments back to back just to get it over with, and it can be very draining. Make sure to give yourself breaks in between! The majority of my classes are asynchronous, so when I have a question, I've noticed the Blackboard discussion board [is] the most beneficial [way] to find the answer to my questions.” – Irene Thomas, Biological Sciences
“I keep in contact with other engineering students by utilizing the app Discord. It allows for different forms of chatting, including voice and text. Also, similarly to Webex, it allows you to share your screen with other people in your group. In general, communicating with other students, even outside my major, helps with this new online format and not feeling completely isolated during the semester.” – Tre Barr, Computer Engineering
“When it comes to synchronous classes, I have found one savior...alarms. Using calendars is a great way to schedule and divvy up your time, but when it comes to getting to a class on time from the comfort of your home (or wherever you're beaming in from) that can be tricky. Since this pandemic has started my sleep schedule is relatively non-existent, so having alarms go off throughout the day has been helpful--even if I'm already up it's very in-my-face.” – Jenika Brown, English
“Although most of my classes are asynchronous, something I found helpful to stay on top of work is that I try to do work for each class at that normally scheduled time. (ex: if anatomy was supposed to be from 10-11am, I do my anatomy work at home from 10-11am, even though there is no live lecture.) This helps me stay on top of all the assignments, and not wait till the last minute to do it all.” – Leah Mathews, Health Administration & Policy
Finally, it’s important to make sure you connect with your professor, academic advisor, or another member of your support network, early on if you find you are having difficulty with your online classes. This will ensure you get the help you need with enough time to get back on track.
If you would like to speak to someone in the Office for Academic & Pre-Professional Advising, our advisors are available to meet via scheduled appointments. Additionally, if you would like to speak with one of our peer advisors, we now have a virtual front counter that can be accessed Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm.