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Adventures in Online Learning

July 23, 2020

Rising juniors in the Lasell Works program spent the 2019-2020 academic year working an average of 35 hours per week while simultaneously taking a full academic course-load online. The group is the first to complete Lasell Works' sophomore year experience, in which the balance of remote instruction and professional responsibilities takes center stage.

With two semesters of online learning experience on their resume, members of the cohort shared tips from their experience.

1)      Embrace the control you have.
"I got so used to sitting in a classroom watching PowerPoint slides and taking notes ... and online learning is something totally different," says Jelyia James '22. "In college, you're doing the work because you actually want to understand something. With online learning, you have so much more control."  

Adds Julianna Denning '22, "I'm going to be busy for the rest of my life and no one is going to hold my hand through it, so I learned how to be independent. I pushed myself and saw what I could do with what I was given."  

"It's just like real life," says Caitlin Featherman '22. "If you have a bill due, the company won't call and remind you. You have to manage what needs to be done and rely on yourself. You have to remember that you're learning and that that is your priority."  

Lasell Works student Kaitlyn Hennessy studies in her at-home work space

2)      Get organized!

"That was the key to my success," says Kaitlyn Hennessy '22 (pictured left). "I bought a humongous wall calendar and wrote all my assignments on it so that I could see everything at once."  

Jess Chabre '22 will take that lesson into classes this year, even though they will be in-person. "The big desktop calendar I bought was a huge help; I'm going to buy another one this year!"  

Another positive for Hennessy: "I made a fair number of new friends as an online learner because we were always reaching out to each other about assignments, which I didn't expect to happen."  

3)      Connect with faculty in advance.
"Reach out to your professors immediately to get to know them a bit," suggests Mathieu Ouellet '22. "Your teacher is your best friend when it comes to online courses." And, Ouellet adds, use Canvas proactively to see when things are due.  

4)      Go in with open arms and an open mind.
"You cannot let fear be the barrier to your decisions," says Sabrina Crispim '22. "I closed one door - being on campus - but by learning online I opened so many other doors."   

5)      Balance your work within your environment.
"When you go to the library and all of your friends are there doing homework, it's easy to join them," says Featherman. "When you're at home and everyone is doing something else, it can be tough."   

Jahaan James '22 suggests keeping an eye on time management without the influence of others studying around you.  

"You might think you have all the time in the world to get things done, but it's important to stay focused and on top of your assignments."