Six tips for remote learning at Cal Lutheran

Kaeleah Isaac, Digital Content Manager

In the spring, California Lutheran University students, staff and faculty had to embrace online classes midway through the semester.

While online learning may not be the “norm,” it is the standard in most U.S. higher education institutions until the spread of COVID-19 is no longer threatening communities.

Despite the added technological and logistical challenges of learning remotely, there are some regulations, personal considerations and adaptations to routine that can help students succeed.

1. Be aware of your privacy rights.

Professors have to ask all students for permission to record Zoom sessions and students are not required to have their video on.

According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)—a federal law that protects the privacy of students’ educational records—public recordings cannot capture any student-identifying data, including but not limited to images, names, and voices, without express written consent from the students. 

This means that students also do not have permission to capture or share any photo, video or sound bites from their Zoom lectures without explicit consent.

FERPA applies to all academic institutions that receive funds under applicable U.S. Department of Education programs including some on-campus organizations.

2. Be considerate of technical challenges.

“For both students and faculty sometimes things don’t go according to plan, so be considerate of mistakes and technical challenges,” Communication Professor Aaron Heresco said in an email interview.

3. Find ways to stay motivated.

“Motivation is a challenge when taking classes virtually,” Heresco said. “Every person has their own habits and preferences, but be sure to find what works for you and stick with it.”

4. Ask for help.

Classes may be remote, but professors are still accessible.

“We are here to help, but it is much easier for us to recognize specific challenges if you let us know about them beforehand,” Heresco said.

Look up your professor’s office hours on your course syllabus, or reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

5. Plan ahead.

There may be added distractions, limited space and access to technology while working remotely. 

Use a planner or import classes and work times into your Cal Lutheran Google Calendar to balance your priorities and schedule time for coursework.

6. Embrace the weirdness.

Classes won’t stay like this forever.

“Accept this as part of the process,” Heresco said. “Talk to others (including your professors) about it, and work on strategies to overcome it.”