Being an online student has many advantages, but it can also be a new and challenging experience, especially if you are studying in a new language, a new culture, and from a different time zone. Here are a few tips and to help you succeed.
Tips for Success
Managing time zones. Set your Canvas time zone to your local time. This will adjust deadlines to your local time and help manage your time and schedule. Canvas offers an explanation for how to do this.
Let your professors/TAs know about challenges. Some instructors may not realize some of the difficulties you are experiencing. For example, they may not be aware of problems accessing the VPN, internet, or class materials. They may not realize that you are taking classes in the middle of the night in your country and that some deadlines, exam times, office hours, and meetings are difficult to manage. A polite email or request to meet that shows your dedication to the course and to doing your best along with a short explanation of your situation might be helpful. If you're an undergraduate student, a Student English Language Support (SELS) consultant can help you prepare your email or conversation, for free!
Connect with other U of MN students and clubs. Students may feel alone and isolated, especially when everything is online. Consider the following opportunities to connect with other UMN students:
- Join a student club
- Attend an event offered at Coffman Union (many are virtual)
- Sign up for a TandemPlus language exchange partner. This is a chance for you to practice conversational English and help someone practice your native language.
- Join a cross-cultural discussion group to make new friends, expand your world-view, and discuss new topics with other UMN students!
- Sign up for the International Buddy Program
Learn how to be a successful online student. The UMN has many resources.
- You can enroll in a self-paced Canvas course that will offer many ideas and suggestions.
- You can explore the many tips and resources on the UMN Success webpage, including ways to manage your time, support with technology and connection to UMN networks and VPN, ways to actively participate in class, and support for mental health.
Share Your Experiences
How are you handling online learning so far? Do you have any tips for other multilingual students? Send us your strategies!