Learning Technology Tips & Strategies: Start Here
Welcome to the Online Learning Tips & Strategies resource page for students!
This site includes info and resources to help UH Maui College students succeed in their courses now that UH has announced moving all courses online for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. We will continue to add info and resources to this site over the next few weeks at the request of faculty and students
-- Site Last Updated: March 23, 2020
Need tech help?
Who to contact for technology help (e.g. computer, software, Laulima, etc.):
- UH ITS Computer Help – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 956-8883 (or toll-free at 1-800-558-2669 from Maui or other neighbor islands)
- Contact your instructor for resources specific to your courses.
- If you need learning accommodations due to a documented disability, contact the Disabilities Service Office at your campus.
Online Course Formats
Online courses can be delivered in a variety of formats. Some courses are considered “independent learning” courses and require students to work through the course materials at your own pace but still completing by the deadline—independent of anyone else enrolled in the same course. Other online courses are more like traditional on-campus classes requiring posting to discussions and interacting with other students in the class.
Although you might not have to attend classes, you will still have to:
- Read your textbooks.
- Write papers.
- Engage in class discussions with classmates/professors.
- Complete tests or other assessments.
- Participate in group projects.
Students are sometimes surprised they are expected to interact with other students in online classes. Some assume since online education is about individual learning, they will not be expected to communicate with other students in the course. The level of interaction between students will depend on the type of class and the instructor's preferences. You will need to refer to your syllabus to make sure you understand your instructor’s expectations.
Your instructor is there for YOU!
Regardless of the format used, your instructor should be able to guide you through the learning process. Each course is carefully designed to best facilitate the learning that needs to take place. Your instructor can provide you with the best information about how your course will be conducted. So reach out to your instructor if you need guidance with navigating Laulima, how to submit assignments, how to attend office hours and more. If you need further information or support, reach out to your campus resources.
Prepare for Online Courses
1. Do you have a Web browser installed on your computer and a reliable internet connection?
- BROWSERS: Not all browsers are created equal. We recommend the latest version of Mozilla Firefox (which is most compatible with Laulima) or Google Chrome for the best experience. If you are unsure whether you have the latest version, visit the What's My Browser website to find out what browser and what version you are using. Or, you can manually download and reinstall the browser.
- INTERNET: We recommend that you have a high speed internet connection. Some course resources, such as videos, may load slowly or incompletely when a dial-up connection is used. In addition, some courses require a high speed connection for certain assignments.
- Tip: Have your Internet provider’s telephone number and technical support available and handy for your classes.
2. Do you have the required software for your courses?
Some courses may require that you have certain software or viewers installed on your computer. Software requirements may include Zoom, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, etc.
- To check to be sure you have all the software needed for the course, check your syllabus or consult with your instructor.
- Need help downloading software? Check the Software & Tools for Online Courses page for helpful links and tutorials.
3. Are you checking your UH email (@hawaii.edu account) regularly?
It is important to regularly check your UH email before and during the semester. Important information will be sent to you via your UH email, including any additional information your instructor wishes to send for you to prepare for your online course.
4. Establish your priorities and make a plan for managing your time in order to succeed.
Expect online classes to take up just as much or even more time as face-to-face classes. Give yourself time to do assignments, to avoid having last-minute technical issues, try to give yourself "cushion" time when submitting (try not to submit at the last minute or just before the system goes down daily for maintenance).
Whether you're taking classes on-campus or online, a common formula to figure out how much time you should schedule to spend on your course is:
# of course credits x 3 = A
# of course credits + A = number of hours per week you should schedule to work on your course
For example, if you are taking a three credit course, your calculation would look like this:
3 course credits x 3 = 9 (A)
3 course credits + 9 (A) = 12 hours
So, you should plan to spend 12 hours a week working on your 3 credit online course.
Strategies for Succeeding in Your Online Course
Online courses require students to be self-disciplined and effectively balance family, work, school, and other obligations. Successful online students have found the following strategies to be helpful:
1. Time Management
The flexibility of online classes is often the biggest appeal however that freedom can also be detrimental if you do not have solid time management skills. Though how you manage your time will depend on your schedule, learning style, and personality, here are some tips to help you practice and improve your time management:
- Look at the syllabus and make note of major assignments. Mark them on a calendar you check regularly so you know what workload is coming in the weeks ahead.
- Create a weekly schedule and follow it. Designate specific times for reading, watching lectures, completing assignments, and studying. Make your coursework part of your weekly routine, and set reminders for yourself to complete tasks.
- Check in periodically throughout the term, and look at how you’re spending your time. Ask yourself: How much time am I dedicating to course reading and assignments? Am I regularly underestimating the time it’s taking me to get things done, forcing me to cram the nights before the exams? A little self-reflection and adjustment can go a long way.
2. Communication skills
Communicating online requires thought and planning to relay information, meet course deadlines and share ideas. Here are a few expectations for communicating in an online environment:
Be proactive by checking your UH Email, Laulima, and other communications daily. Some instructors use Laulima Announcements and/or Laulima Messages to communicate with students directly so check your Laulima course site regularly.
Actively participate and interact with your classmates and instructor.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you are struggling, contact your instructor or peers for help. The sooner the better. Even though you can't raise your hand as you would in a traditional classroom, you can send an email to your instructors or post a message to a discussion board. It is your responsibility to communicate with your instructors when you have a question or issue that needs to be addressed.
3. Establish a Study Plan and be consistent
- Set a schedule for studying. Dedicate specific times to do course work like participating in class activities online, reading, or doing research.
- Be sure to stick to the schedule - consistency is key.
4. Create or Fnd a Study Environment that works for you
- Create or find a private, distraction-free space with good lighting and seating so that you can focus during designated class or study times. Consider turning off your cell phone and avoiding unrelated Internet surfing while studying.
- If your study space is at home, let everyone in the house know when it is your time to study. Create a sign to put on your door or the back of your chair that indicates you are studying and unavailable.
5. Read and print (if desired) important documents such as the syllabus, instructor contact information, and assignment due dates. Read all assignment instructions very carefully - multiple times if needed.
Other Strategies & Tips to Help You Succeed: