Supporting Your Student During COVID-19
How to Create a Productive Work Space at Home
You are used to reporting to an office, your college student is used to studying in the library, and now you are all working from home. As you and your student shift to this new arrangement, here are some ideas for creating a productive work space from home:
- Stake out a spot. When you change your work environment, it is easy to be distracted by new surroundings such as different noises, a puppy on your lap, or a sink full of dirty dishes (ok—that last one might be more of a distraction to you than your student!) It will help productivity to find a spot with few distractions, as well as a spot with a strong wifi signal.
- Set a schedule. Even without the routine of having to go to class or work, setting a schedule for your workday will boost productivity. Online classes often have more flexibility which will require students to stay on task to complete work on time. It might be helpful for your student to work on coursework during the time that the class was originally held since they already have that routine—or they can set their own schedule based on when they complete their best work. Either way, sticking to a schedule means you are less likely to get distracted from chores, video games, or Netflix…but don’t forget to schedule breaks!
- Don’t forget to move. Not having to walk to class or work means a lot of sitting time! Suggest your student set a timer every hour to get up and move for five minutes, or take advantage of sunny days and go for a lunch time walk around the neighborhood.
- Turn off your phone and social media while working. Limit those distractions for stretches at a time to increase productivity.
- Be aware of others working from the same home. Families are all in this together, and that includes sharing a home work space. Everyone should communicate about their needs—quiet during important phone calls or video chats; fewer distractions during an online test; or break times. Be respectful of everyone’s needs as you work together as a family to create a successful working environment for all.
Tips for Online Learning
Last-minute transitions to alternative learning methods is stressful to both instructors and students. For some, this is their first experience with online learning. Some are well aware that this in not their preferred learning format. As you support your student through this transition, here are some tips you can share about being a successful online learner:
- Stay organized. Some classes have switched to a completely online format while others may have a virtual lecture component that students need to attend. Assignments and projects may have shifted. Make sure your student takes note of all course changes and is prepared to engage as is required.
- Actively participate. Just like when students are in class, participation will help them better understand course materials. Join discussions, complete all readings, engage with classmates, and pay close attention to all messages from instructors.
- Use your network. Even though students won’t see their classmates in class, they can still connect virtually to study, ask questions, and provide support. This will also help students stay accountable to their work.
- Avoid multitasking. Suggest that your student concentrate on one class or assignment at a time; trying to do many at once will slow down progress and mean more time spent on each project.
- Be respectful of group work. Remote collaboration is more challenging than in-person group work. Remind your student to be respectful of their classmates—don’t procrastinate, meet regularly, do your part, and use shared technology to your advantage.
- Reach out for help. If you have problems or questions (about coursework or technology), do not wait to address them. Reach out to the instructor, a classmate, an advisor or ITS right away.
- Be flexible. We know this is tough for students. Instructors are doing their best to make this a smooth transition and to complete the semester successfully. However, this transition will require patience and flexibility from all. This includes being patient with yourself if you are uncomfortable with online learning!
RIT Student Support
As students shift to online learning, student support services at RIT continue remotely. Please remind your student to take advantage of the following resources:
- Academic Success Center: The ASC continues to provide virtual services including tutoring, supplemental instruction, and academic coaching.
- Colleges are working towards offering their tutoring services online. Information on how to access college tutoring will be available on this site as it becomes available.
- The Writing Commons will be open for online consultations. Students can make appointments to meet with a writing consultant through chat, video, and shared document functions using the WCOnline scheduling platform.
- As always, students should communicate with their instructors and academic advisors about their courses and any concerns they may have as the semester progresses.
- The Ombuds Office is available to provide confidential assistance to students who have concerns arising from or affecting their work and studies.
Living with Your Student
Your student is unexpectedly home for an extended period of time and way ahead of schedule; we can imagine you are experiencing some mixed feelings. You are happy to have your family together and safe at home, but the circumstances around this move are not ideal. You may be in tight quarters with your entire family as high school and college classes are moved online and many parents shift to working remotely. Emotions are high as students are thinking about what they are missing out on this spring. There is a lot more to navigate than the usual summer home from college. Here are a few tips as you navigate this new living situation:
- Be patient and respectful. Everyone in the family is going through an adjustment right now—parents have to work from home; college students had to return home two months early; high school is on hold as alternative learning methods are explored. There is likely a lot of tension, and patience and understanding are needed from all parties as you navigate this transition.
- Set boundaries. You all will have different responsibilities and schedules. Open communication will help when you need quiet for a conference call or your student has an exam. Discuss, negotiate, and respect one another’s needs.
- Discuss household expectations early. Ensure that all family members are contributing to the upkeep of the home. Be clear about your expectations. Determine who is responsible for what and try to stick to a routine.
- Expect odd schedules. College students have very different schedules! They may sleep past your second cup of coffee and schedule a meeting to discuss a group project after your bedtime. As long as they are respecting house expectations and the rest of the family, be flexible.
Spring Residential Plan
If they haven’t already, please remind your student to complete the Spring Residential Plan on the mylife portal. This is particularly important for our students with RIT housing contracts. This form helps us understand students’ plans and needs as they transition from campus and RIT housing. It is important that students leave housing as soon as possible. Remember that RIT housing will close on April 5 unless a student has received approval for an extension.