Tips for Successfully Navigating Remote Learning

As Wheaton College is moving from a traditional learning environment to an online delivery of instruction for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, Academic Advising wants to provide you with tools that will help you successfully navigate this transition.

It is important to prepare for this academic experience using the same principles you employed while on campus:

  • Complete assigned readings in a timely manner, preparing for discussions with class and assignments
  • Complete and submit homework assignments, tests and papers according to deadlines
  • Access resources like your professor, peers, tutoring and other online tools  as necessary to help support your academic efforts

Not all classes will follow the same structure.  Continue to review any updates to your course syllabus and note the changes so you can complete work on time.

Remote learning means you still have the authority to manage your time outside of assigned class meetings.  It also means that distractions are endless and that you may need to approach time management and organization differently than you did while on campus.  We hope that these tips will help you in creating a learning space that best fits your needs.

Time Management: Set aside time to prepare for class and manage outside obligations/work

You will now face different demands on your time (family, friends, work, personal interests, etc.).  Thus, balancing these demands will be key to your success. Remember, that a one credit class on average includes 12-15 hours each week of preparation, studying and participating in the class itself.

When it comes to remote learning, you need to have the discipline to sit down and say, “I am going to work on this,” as well as the dedication to actually follow through. It would be a good time to schedule your coursework into your day, the same way you had classes scheduled during the day. If your professors assign work that can be completed at different times of day (as opposed to specific course times) you may still want to think of a structured schedule of time spent ‘in class’ or doing work throughout the week.


Hand in hand with managing your time is the ability to organize your coursework.  Organization is a proactive behavior that allows you to think ahead and plan so that you can use your time effectively.  There are some websites/applications designed specifically for learning new skills, managing everyday life and employing new study tools.

These include:

  • Evernote –   helps you consolidate and remember information across all devices that you use.  This will help you stay organized, save ideas and improve productivity.
  • My Study Life – organize classes, tasks and exams.

Understanding and staying aware of your workload is key to remote learning.  Your instructor will most likely need to adjust dates, deadlines and class assignments now that we’ve had an extra week off classes and work is being held remotely. Take that information and make a calendar with rough guidelines of what readings, activities and assignments you should complete each day and week. Record all important submission dates so none spring up and overwhelm you. Spend 10-15 minutes on a Sunday working out your priorities for the week, checking to make sure you are on track and taking action if you’re not. Don’t fall behind!

Preparing A Learning Space

While sometimes it can help to ‘mix up’ where you study, you need a dedicated study space you use for work consistently. You may already have a desk area, others might not. If you struggle for space could you build a very simple folding desk somewhere? Buy a fold up chair and you have a desk that can almost be removed when you’re not using it? Or can you clear off a table or area in a quiet room that will serve as your designated study space each day? As you may have other family members working and studying around you, try to find a space that is quiet, free of distractions and clutter, and give you the space to be organized.

Connect With Your Classmates

Remote learning can be lonely at times. You’ll need to actively seek to engage your classmates and professor from home the way you would in class. Talk to your professor and your peers in each class. Could you set up  official or unofficial forums or groups for you to connect with other students in the course? Are there any Facebook groups for your course? Try and find a few students whom you can share your successes and problems with either via phone, Google HangOuts, Facebook or another platform.

Accessing your Resources

Your Faculty

Keep in mind that remote teaching and learning may be new to your professors as well, so asking for weekly summaries or regular notes keeping you up-to-date, in addition to summarization of the past week, and any other important communications that will help you understand the material may be necessary.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of unanswered questions in remote learning. When you are face-to-face and a question comes up you can blurt it out. You often receive an answer before you leave the classroom. Without a classroom, however, it is up to you to ask questions—immediately. You cannot afford to wait until you are noticed in an online course.


Whether you are worried about taking an exam or you need help understanding some key concepts before progressing through course material, remote tutoring services will continue to be offered during the rest of the semester.  For times and access please consult the Tutoring Resources web page.

Accessibility Services is available to work with students through phone and virtual appointments.  Most academic accommodations will remain accessible in the online learning environment. Updated documentation for new academic accommodation requests should be sent electronically in the form of email attachments.  Please direct any questions or concerns to Associate Director, Autumn Grant or .

Academic Advising – Student Success

Student Success Advisors are available to provide proactive and holistic guidance to support you as you navigate your remote academic experience.  We recognize that learning remotely may present unique challenges to students because of a variety of personal and familial factors. We want you to know that we are here to support, assist, and help you succeed. Student Success Advisors can provide:

  • Proactive outreach and check-in
  • Monitor your academic progress
  • Connect you to a diversity of strategies to help you feel comfortable in the on-line environment
  • Assist you with course selection and registration
  • Connect you to other Wheaton College resources and support

You can contact Academic Advising either by emailing or contacting your Student Success Advisor directly:

Interested in scheduling a meeting with Advising or Accessibility Services? Click here to schedule a meeting.