Advice to students about adjusting to remote learning

Becky Olive-Taylor of the Koenigsberger Learning Center explores the adjustment to online classes

Message from Becky Olive-Taylor, Executive Director of the Koenigsberger Learning Center and Director of Academic Advising


Dear Students,

You have finished your first week of online learning and you may well be wondering, “What does engaged learning look like now that I feel so disengaged?” Let’s explore that with questions and answers below.

I came to Elon for smaller classes and contact with my professors. I know COVID-19 forced us to take these precautions, but I keep feeling frustrated by it all. Is that so bad?

No, it is not so bad and your faculty came to Elon because they wanted contact with their students, too. It is important to recall how quickly the move to distance education had to be implemented for Elon and across the nation. Engaged learning is a two-way street, so reach out to your faculty with questions, ideas, and any concerns. They want to hear from you, too, as they continue to transition their preferred face-to-face instruction to an online format.

My professors are so different in the way they have set up their online courses. Why can’t they be more uniform?

Let’s remember, students regularly adjust to different teaching styles at the beginning of every single semester. Faculty have always used their discretion to decide what class format works best with their disciplinary content. Online delivery is no exception. Perhaps the main reason this feels different is that you are starting over, adjusting in the middle of the semester—just when you had a lot of “what my professor wants” already figured out. Change is hard for everyone and of course, you miss seeing your friends in class and on campus. You might consider, therefore, using MS Teams to set up virtual study groups. ( ) Students, you did not suddenly become less capable or helpless over spring break. Trust yourself on this one and draw from all the times you have successfully adjusted to different teaching styles each semester.

I’m trying to trust myself, but I’m still worried. I’m not on campus to access support services. What do you suggest?

Elon anticipated student concerns and that is a big reason for the pass/fail grade option—with pass being a minimum C grade. You have time to see how the course progresses before you commit to P/F or keep a letter grade. Academic support services available to you virtually include Learning Assistance, Writing Center, and Personal Librarians. Check out their websites for more information on how to access services. Additionally, emotional support is available using virtual resources such as Dean of Students/Student Care and Outreach and Counseling Services. Chaplains in the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life are just a phone call away. With their social media presence, chaplains are providing a daily reflection aimed at making meaning as an antidote to anxiety.

Meaningful engagement at Elon in both the curricular and the co-curricular is always student driven. Do not give up your personal power and self-efficacy now. Stay in touch with friends using social media, reach out to your faculty as needed and use your virtual resources. Begin to cultivate patience with yourself and others and please continue to practice social distancing. Try to recall Maya Angelou’s appropriate words for us at this time, “Every storm runs out of rain.”