As our world deals with the COVID 19 crisis, we want VIU students to know that we are in your corner, now more than ever. You may feel uncertain about how your courses are changing, what is now expected of you, and how you are going to manage these changes at this time. We’ve identified three key strategies that may help students navigate the next few weeks: stay connected to key people, make a plan, and use good strategies. We hope these strategies will support you at this time, navigating your courses, your assignments, and your own well-being.
Student success tip #1: Stay connected
It’s essential at this point to stay connected to the key people in your world. Moving to an alternative learning environment, as well as social distancing, means that you may begin to feel isolated or out of the loop, and this may affect your learning and your health. Here are some tips about who to stay connected with and how:
Instructors are key right now. As they work adjust courses and assignments know that at the heart of their work is you and your success. If you haven’t already, think of how you can stay connected and communicate with your instructor. It may be through email, VIULearn, virtual office hours (ZOOM) or even over the phone. You may have to let them know about your remote situation, what access you have, or don’t have, to online tools, and other issues related to course expectations and assignments. Instructors are here for you, and committed to your success. Please reach out if you need to.
Classmates, groups and teams
We are all in this together, and your classmates, or members of groupwork projects, are also key people to stay connected to. Are there ways you can connect with classmates, or reach out to others who might appreciate a chat with someone in their class? Here are some tools that may help you connect and collaborate:
- VIULearn: If VIULearn is new for you, here is a link to some helpful information for students, including access to an orientation course. If you have outstanding groupwork projects or assignments and need to collaborate, asynchrounous online environments like group discussions in VIULearn offer maximum flexibility and might be one option. This space can also provide students space to share general questions and queries about the course. Your instructor will have to create this space, so if they haven’t already encourage them to open it up.
- ZOOM: A synchronous (same time) tool like ZOOM allows members to connect and collaborate in real time. It’s like skype and facetime, but maybe a little bit better. And we support it at VIU.
- Some tips for students using ZOOM: Only use your first name, or a nickname or pseudonym when you sign on. Also, don’t upload a picture of your own face. We ask you not to use first names or faces since ZOOM is hosted on US servers, and therefore information share on ZOOM is not FIPPA compliant. Here is a link to more about ZOOM.
- Google Docs: I’m probably not really supposed to promote this one, because it’s not FIPPA compliant—that means any information you put on a google doc is housed on servers outside of Canada and who knows what they do with that information. But it’s still a great tool that allows students (and instructors) to collaborate remotely. Just don’t put your real name on it, or share sensitive national security secrets.
- A note on collaborating: Be mindful that everyone’s situation is different and not everyone may have the same access or tools. Work together to find solutions that work for everyone, and connect with your instructor if need be. Also think of classmates that might be particularly vulnerable or isolated at this time. Is there a way to reach out to them?
Friends and family: Even if they’re not in your class, your friends and family are invaluable at this time. Find ways to connect, stay in touch, and lean on the people who can you lean on. Share with them about your classes, your courses, your assignments and your worries.
VIU: If you’re having trouble connecting to family and friends at this time, remember that VIU is your family too. We have tight-knit community, and we care about each other, especially right now. VIU wants to hold its students up, giving them the most support and the greatest chance at success. Here are some of those front line workers and their contact information if you need to connect with them:
- Learning Technology Support Specialists (LTSSs): Support with VIULearn, VIU Blogs, VIUTube, and ZOOM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- VIU Library (Research support): Askaway chat research help is available during the posted service hours: https://askaway.org/chat
- The Writing Centre: Online appointments available through their website: https://services.viu.ca/writing-centre or email email@example.com
- Counselling: Distance counselling for VIU students is available. Please see https://services.viu.ca/counselling for details.
In addition to staying connected, please click on the links below:
This post was updated July 9, 2020 to reflect a change to counselling options available for students.