July 30, 2020

Three women looking at laptopsThis fall, many NHTI courses will meet remotely, and this can present confusion if you are not familiar with online learning. Here are some tips to prepare you for learning through Zoom.

Before the Semester Begins

  • Become Familiar with Zoom: Log in to Zoom before your class begins to ensure the software works well with your computer. Visit Zoom’s Test Meeting to try the different features and test your computer’s audio and camera. Learn how to mute your microphone, turn off the camera, raise your hand, and chat with other participants.
  • Log on to Canvas: Most instructors publish courses before the start of the semester. Log on to Canvas to review the syllabus and understand the course layout.
  • Set Up Your Space: It might be tempting to turn the camera off, lay back on the couch, and “attend” class while also catching up on your favorite new Netflix show. Don’t. Sit so you’re comfortable but also alert. (There’s a reason why classrooms do not have recliners.) Reduce background noise and remove visual distractions so that your classmates will be able to focus on the lecture and not the antics of your cat. Position a lamp so that your face is illuminated.

On Your First Day

  • Come to Class Early: Log on five minutes before class begins. Some instructors will set up the Zoom room so that you can enter early while others may ask you to wait in a waiting room. Either way, logging on early will give you a chance to settle in so that you’re ready when class begins. Also, be prepared and have everything you need – textbooks, notebooks, writing implements, water, etc.
  • Use Your First and Last Name: It’ll take a while for your instructor and classmates to get to know you; it’s best to log in with your first and last name. Remember, you might not be the only Sarah in class so logging in as Sarah’s iPhone could be confusing.

During Class

  • Be respectful: Each class will have its own setup and culture. Unless otherwise instructed, it’s best to mute your microphone and raise your hand when you’d like to speak.
  • Look into the Camera: Speak to the camera, not the screen. You will look more natural.
  • Have the Right Equipment: If possible, use headphones to reduce noise and static.
  • Avoid Multitasking and Reduce Distractions: We all think we can listen to a lecture and respond to an email at the same time, but research shows that we cannot do both tasks well. When you’re in class, be in class. Avoid the multitasking trap and reduce distractions by turning off email and social media alerts.
  • Ask for Help When Needed: At NHTI we all have one goal: your success! If you’re struggling with Zoom (or anything else), contact your instructor or advisor. Little problems usually do  not just go away; in fact, they often lead to bigger problems. Reach out when you need help.

Are you looking for some outside time after all that online learning? Check out our Natural Resources Stewardship course that focuses on New Hampshire’s natural resources and the relationship between healthy ecosystems and healthy communities. Space is limited!