TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED
Whether this is your first experience with online/remote learning, or you have taken online courses before, there are a few important steps to take in order to be prepared for success. We know some of you may not have access to the recommended items below (desktop or laptop, reliable high-speed internet connection), but there are other resources for you. You can call the USS Help Center at 401-456-8803 for assistance. Check out the
Technology Support section for additional -and many free - technology resources.
GATHER YOUR TECHNOLOGY
A desktop or laptop
Whichever you choose depends on your personal preference, but please know that mobile devices may not provide full access to your courses.
A reliable, high-speed internet connection
Technology Support section for information about internet connectivity and setting up a hotspot.
Some optional accessories you may need include an external hard drive to back up your files and headphones/earbuds to make listening easier.
While we do not ordinarily recommend browsers, Firefox is the preferred browser when working in Blackboard.
While you will not require any special software to take most courses, please check with your faculty members to make ensure this is the case.
For assistance from the RIC Help Center, please email
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 401-456-8803. Please be sure to provide your name, student ID, phone number and a description of the problem for faster service.
START ON THE RIGHT FOOT
If you’re new to an online/remote course format, there are a number of instructional videos or tutorials with “how to” guides and step-by-step processes on completing all types of assignments like Khan Academy and
Each time you log on, make sure you:
- Look through all new materials posted.
- Check the course syllabus for any updates to due dates, assignments, quizzes or exams.
- Break the lessons/assignments into manageable chunks.
Maintain a positive mindset – it will help you reduce stress.
- Repeat: "I will succeed in this course."
- Celebrate your success – reward yourself along the way.
If you don't understand something, ask.
- Talking with your faculty is critical. Even though your relationship with your faculty is now remote, they are still there for you to provide clarification on instructions and help you learn.
MAKE IT REAL
Just like in your in-person courses, connect what you learn with your everyday life:
- Look for real-world applications for what you're learning.
- Put what you learn into practice as early as possible.
FIND A PLACE TO DO YOUR WORK
Think about where you’ll study, complete an assignment or take an assessment.
- Will you be more likely to stay on task if you work in your home with people around, or will you do better away from people?
- When public libraries eventually reopen, consider going to yours if you think you’ll concentrate better there.
- Wherever you study or work, make sure you have all the supplies you might need (computer, paper, pens, calculator, etc.).
If you cannot find a quiet location at home:
- Would earplugs or headphones help reduce distractions? There are also several free “white noise” apps available for download.
SET A ROUTINE
No matter where you are – at home or in a residence hall – figure out when you’ll be able to focus best so you don’t fall behind.
- Schedule in breaks. Meals offer a natural opportunity for these. You can treat your schedule like a workweek and do no work on the weekends, or spread your work out.
- Use a timer. A timer (like the one on your oven/microwave, clock or phone) can keep you on track and keep breaks and study sessions from lasting longer than they should.
- Try to move around a little to relieve stress. If you can’t walk, bike or run outside, can you at least stretch or meditate? Find a video to follow online if you don’t know what stretches to do.
- Record all important dates on your calendar once you have new information from your instructor regarding your course.
- Plan ahead. Schedule time you to work on a larger project, and breaking the project into smaller, more manageable steps.
- Double up. If you think an assignment is going to take an hour to complete, count on it taking two. Always double the amount of time you give to completing a task.
Creating a schedule helps you set goals to get all your work done and removes the need to constantly figure out what work to do next. We suggest doing work at least two days before it’s due, to make sure it’s done on time.
- Dress Like It’s a Regular Day – Shower and dress like you normally would when you come to RIC – it may help you stay focused if it feels a little more like you’re really “attending” class.
- Get There “On Time” – If classes are being held online at the same time that they were held in person, make sure you “attend.” You’ll have a chance to ask questions and see what your classmates are asking, too.
- Reduce Distractions – Turn off your phone or put it in another room. Don’t open other browser windows or tabs, except for the one where your class is streaming. And, if you can be in room alone, keep the door closed. If your pet is a distraction, keep it out of the room, too. (Add snuggling time as part of your schedule.)
- Check Office Hours – See if your faculty are holding office hours online. Make note in your daily planner or calendar regarding their availability.
- Stay Up to Date – Check the syllabus at least once a week to make sure professors haven’t changed anything.
- Set Alerts – Use reminders on your phone, set your alarm or write yourself notes on large post-it notes. Do whatever it takes to remember when you need to be posting on a class board or engaging in an online discussion.
- Get in Sync – If you take medication, you may need to adjust the time at which you take it. This is especially important if you’re now in a different time zone than the one you were in at school and if your class is being held virtually at the same time it was when you attended on campus.