Do a Happy Dance and walk out the door – “Have a wonderful summer break“, “See you again next semester“, “See you in the Fall“, these are all things we hear in the hallway during the last week of the semester.
Summer is a time for recouping, relaxing, pool time, barbecues, and no math right? Um, not so much! What if you are teaching a class this summer or taking a class online this summer? For most of us who take classes or teach online, even though we are wrapping up in one class this week, we will be tackling another class or two in the next week or so. The question is, “How do we stay motivated during the semester in the summer months, when everyone else around us is enjoying their beautiful summer days without having to look at math concepts?” Here are a few tips:
- Make note of due dates. Having a schedule is important any time of the year, but especially important in the summer months. As soon as you receive your syllabus, download a copy, print it, and keep it next to your laptop, PC, or Ipad. Highlight the due dates, and keep your schedule handy. If you have a dedicated area for studying, a whiteboard is a great alternative to a printed schedule. I make changes to my whiteboard each week. Sometimes, more than once a week, depending on what is going on that week. Do not wait till the night before a due date to complete an assignment, technical glitches happen.
- Keep a notepad next you. This tip is from my students. Most of my successful students always say that they keep a notepad next to them when they are studying. They take notes, and write down formulas. This comes in especially handy during final exam preparation.
- Participate in class. Students who participate in class are usually the students who ask questions, and stay motivated. In the online classroom, we all know that we do not have face-to-face contact with our instructor or classmates, so the best way to stay connected is through discussion threads or weekly webcasts. Don’t post your required discussion thread response and disappear for the rest of the week. Take a day or two break, come back and read other students’ posts, comment on other posts, ask questions – the more you participate, the more you learn – trust me on this one.
- Do not fall behind. Sometimes, students make the mistake of thinking that studying online is easier than a face-to-face class. If you are one of them, you are in for a rude awakening. Online classes are demanding, and you need to stay on top of things. As I mentioned in the beginning, create a schedule and keep up with your schedule. If you ever have an emergency, contact your instructor (or let a family member contact your instructor). Your instructor will work with you to keep you from falling behind. It’s life, emergencies happen. Our goal is to see you succeed.
- Take advantage of resources. I cannot tell you how many times some students do not take advantage of resources designed to help them succeed. If you are using an adaptive technology system such as MyMathLab by Pearson, trust me, utilize the study plan. I cannot stress this enough. It has helped many students, and it will help you. Take advantage of tutoring services offered by your university, you will come out the winner. If your instructor offers virtual office hours (and I can attest to this – every instructor offers virtual office hours), use it. Let me say this again, “Use your instructor’s virtual office hours“. If the office hours posted does not work with your schedule in any particular week, your instructor will work with you to set up a time that will work for both of you. I do this with my students all the time. With the advancement of technology, we have access to online whiteboards, my students love this. I can explain math concepts to them in real time, and it’s awesome. If you need more online resources, click on ‘Resources’ on the menu tab on this page, and you will find free resources to help you in your class.
Don’t forget to enjoy your summer, and be sure to stay motivated throughout the semester. Always remember to …..