By: Bryan Duarte, Learning Ally's College Success Program Mentor
When faced with a new online learning environment, these 6 tips can help college students who are blind or visually impaired to set themselves up for success.
1. Prepare early and arrive on time.
There is nothing worse than walking into a class late when everyone is already in their seats and class is about to begin. And, it is equally awkward when you show up to an online class after it has begun and everyone sees your name pop up late. If you prepare early, you will be able to navigate the online platform, join the class, and be ready before or on time.
2. If possible, take time to use the online platform before the class.
Many of us are now using online platforms that may present difficulties, aren't intuitive, or we've just never used before. But, understanding the learning management system designated by your college or university is so important to your success in online learning. It could be Canvas, Blackboard, or maybe Zoom, but whatever the tool, make sure you know how to navigate the systems before the class begins.
3. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
If the class is being instructed in real-time over an online video system, make sure you know the procedure your professor prefers for asking questions. They may want you to utilize the "Raise Your Hand" function or type your question in the chat box. Whatever the method, make sure you are willing and able to get your questions answered.
4. Know your professors' office hours.
Not all courses will be instructed in real-time. Some professors might decide to pre-record the lecture and post it as a link. In this situation, where you cannot ask questions in the moment, it is important that you find out how and when they will be holding office hours should you need help.
5. Continue to engage in class participation.
To remain social while practicing social distancing, it could be helpful to ask your classmates if they would like to meet up virtually to study. In cases where an in-person study group may be helpful, an online virtual meeting can still meet this need. It's also good just to spend some time talking with others!
6. Stick to your schedule.
It is very easy to put off assignments when things are online, especially if you do not have a set class time. That is why it is so important that you remain diligent and stick to your schedule. Even though some lectures might be recorded, listen to the recordings early and take good notes. Be ready to pause and resume the video to make sure you get all the key points.