Remote Learning Tips

We are all adjusting to new ways of life under COVID-19 circumstances and encourage everyone to be patient, compassionate, and flexible with each other. The goal of this guide is to help you develop an individualized plan suited to your learning style and to invite you to consider helpful adjustments for the online learning context.

Organizing Your Time

Online course designs typically provide increased flexibility with how and when work is completed. Setting a schedule for yourself provides important structure and helps keep you motivated. Designate certain hours each week to reading, watching lectures, completing assignments, studying, and participating in forums. Set reminders for yourself to complete these tasks. Incorporate time for walking or exercising and general self-care.

Check in periodically and look at how you're spending your time. Ask yourself:

  • How much time am I dedicating to course readings and assignments compared to what I did while on campus?
  • Am I regularly underestimating the time it's taking me to get work done?
  • Are there study strategies I used on campus that I can adapt?

Visit the Academic Skills Center's website for remote time management strategies.

If you find yourself falling behind, speak up. Don't wait until an assignment is almost due to ask questions or share concerns. Email your professor and be proactive in asking for help.

Multitasking Cautions

Shifting to online courses makes it more tempting to multitask. Many people think they are better at multitasking than they are so please be aware.

  • Assignments may take longer. Each time you come back to an assignment (from Instagram for example), you have to get familiar with it, find your spot, remember what you were going to do next, etc.
  • You may make mistakes. Distractions and switching between tasks fatigue our brain.
  • You're likely to remember less. When you are cognitively trying to do too many complex tasks at once, you're less able to commit what you're learning to long-term memory.

INSTEAD, consider the following:

  • The "pomodoro method" to help you focus for 25- or 50-minute periods and then reward yourself with 5- or 10-minute breaks.
  • Try downloading a website blocker. Applications such as Cold Turkey and Freedom can help eliminate distractions by blocking the apps or websites that tend to compete for your attention.

Learning from Video Lectures

  • If your location and Wi-Fi access allow, stick to your instructor's schedule. This will help you maintain consistent academic progress and minimize falling behind.
  • Continue to take notes as you would if you were there in person. If the video is pre-recorded, you can pause videos and note timestamps in your notes to return to spots later.
  • Watch recordings at normal speed. Research shows that a playback speed of 1.5x can lower your retention and result in lower scores on assessments.
  • Close distracting tabs, apps, and devices and focus on the video. Consider turning your phone off or placing it on airplane mode.
  • Take time before each class to prepare. Review the syllabus and faculty instructions so you know what to expect.
  • Identify how students can ask questions. During class, on Canvas, via email or virtual office hours?

Evaluating your Strategies

Look for ways to adapt your usual habits and form new ones for this new environment.

  • Ask yourself what kind of environment helps you study and see if you can recreate that where you are. If you feel you need background noise, consider a white noise app.
  • Once you identify a workspace, kindly inform those with whom you're staying what you might need from them in order to concentrate on your schoolwork.
  • If you benefit from studying in groups, try a virtual or phone study session with your group. Or join a study group through the Academic Skills Center.
    • If you thrive on tight timelines but now have a more open schedule, think about how working with others can recreate accountability for you. When that gets hard, see if you can even do fifteen-minute check-ins. If you're having trouble holding yourself responsible, pair up with a fellow classmate, or enlist the help of a family member or friend to check in as an accountability partner.

Managing Group Projects

Remote collaboration will look a little different, but we are creative and adaptive people.

  • Check out study groups and resident expert drop-in sessions through the Academic Skills Center.
  • Try not to procrastinate. A group project may be out-of-sight, out-of-mind if you aren't seeing each other regularly. Resist the urge to put it off. Make small progress and stay in touch.
  • Consider a quick text on your group chat every couple of days. Ideally, have Zoom conversations that keep you all on track.
  • Set a purpose for meetings and use a shared notes doc.
  • Check on each other and ask for backup. If someone has been absent from your group meetings or chat, express concern and ask them directly if they're still able to participate in the project. If you aren't getting responses within a day or two, let your instructor know so the instructor can check in with your absent teammate.

Staying Connected

As is the case for on-campus courses, staying in touch with instructors, classmates, friends and family is still important for personal and academic success.

  • Schedule video calls with friends and family. Try to find moments for laughter and relaxation.
  • Use Zoom to connect with classmates to talk through a tough problem.
  • Attend virtual faculty office hours when available.
  • Schedule a Zoom appointment with a mentor, advisor, or staff person you connect with on campus.

We may experience challenging personal circumstances due to the COVID-19 disruption at different times from each other. Let's all approach each situation with care, kindness, and grace as we navigate the uncertainties of this pandemic.

Resources for Academic Success

Since this will be a new and unusual term for everyone, take advantage of the many resources that are available to you.

Academic Skills Center
Consider virtual study groups and "resident experts" for introductory STEM and economics courses. Make an academic coaching Zoom or phone appointment with Carl Thum or Karen Afre. Check out additional tutoring support and learning resources for spring term.

Undergraduate Deans Office
Your deans remain available for personal and academic advising by Zoom appointment and virtual drop-ins M-F from 1:00-4:00pm. You can schedule using your dean's Calendly link or by contacting the office at 603-646-2243.

Student Accessibility Services (SAS)
If you have a disability or suspect you may have one, SAS can help. Current students already connected to SAS are encouraged to communicate early with faculty to identify needs, adjustments, and request support, if needed.

Dartmouth Library

Librarians are available to provide research support. Access databases and online resources, schedule an individual or group research consultation through Zoom, utilize the research guides for subjects, submit a question through email, or live chat with a librarian.

Campus Resources remain here for you. Here are a few highlights.

Technology Support

Tech Check for Dartmouth Remote Learning

Tech Check helps you assess your technology for remote learning, including hardware requirements, software recommendations, and internet connectivity.

#DartmouthRemoteReadiness provides information about Free Xfinity Wi-Fi hot spots, Comcast internet service offers for students, Zoom FAQs, how to improve your Zoom connection, and more.


Canvas is the Learning Management System used for all courses at Dartmouth. In addition to common uses such as file sharing and assignment submission, classes may also use Canvas to deliver course content (like instructional videos, readings, and external media) and to conduct course activities (such as discussions and peer reviews). Although discussions are text-based, they can include recorded media and links. Become familiar with your Canvas course site and know where to find course content, files, and assignments. You can find many helpful how-to guides in the Canvas Student Guide.


Zoom is a cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, including online chat. Your class may include live discussions (in real-time) and smaller breakout groups that are hosted on Zoom, or you may be asked to give a presentation to your class on Zoom.

If you have not used Zoom before, please

  1. go to
  2. click Sign in and enter your Dartmouth NetID and password

Once this step is completed your account is activated. Bookmark this webpage. This is where you will sign into your account and access other resources.

You may need a webcam and headset with microphone to participate in online meetings. For the best experience, find a quiet location with reliable internet connection and privacy to participate in online meetings. Use the Zoom Meeting or test room to test your tech and connection.

Troubleshooting with Zoom

If you need help with troubleshooting Zoom during a call, Dartmouth subscribes to support from Zoom. Contact 1-888-799-0125. You can also click on the Chat bubble on the bottom right hand corner of your meetings page.

Academic Honor Principle Reminder

"The faculty, administration, and students of Dartmouth College recognize the Academic Honor Principle as fundamental to the education process. These principles remain applicable to our remote online learning experience during Spring Term 2020.

If you have questions about how the Academic Honor Principle applies in a specific class or on an assignment, please speak directly with your professor to get clarity on their expectations. To report a possible violation of the Academic Honor Policy, please use the form here: Academic Honor Reporting Form