Man oh man am I glad my little one is too young for online classes! Some of you, however, are no doubt struggling to keep up with both your kids online classes and your own. As if conflicting schedules weren’t enough, you may also be wondering how you’re supposed to attend your live lectures with your only laptop while your kids are also supposed to be attending a live video class as well. Fortunately, you’re not alone in the struggle. Here are some tips on juggling virtual class schedules when you don’t have enough devices to go around.
Your very first step should be contacting your professors and your children’s teachers to let them know that you’re working with limited devices, so you can’t guarantee a perfect attendance. Remember, your instructors are people with families too, who are undergoing just as much hassle and confusion as you are. Chances are they will be completely understanding, and may even be able to provide you with resources that can provide you with a tablet or laptop. Setting these expectations may alleviate your own stress, and can be a starting point towards negotiating how your attendance may impact your final grade. The earlier you reach out, the better off things will be.
If you miss out on a live lecture and are left with a ton of questions, make sure that you’re implementing virtual office hours with your professor or TA as often as possible. This is time that they have dedicated to answering your questions, so make sure that you’re making the most of it!
If you’re fortunate enough to have a library that’s open with available computers, use them! Having a place to go outside the home (within physical distancing restrictions) can make a huge difference in helping both you and your children switch into ‘learning mode’ and focus more on what’s in front of them. That means more effective time learning and less time worrying about what’s left to get done later.
Create a ‘learning space’ in your home that has absolutely no distractions. This can be a seat at the dinner table, a desk in the corner, even a spot on the floor. The idea is that this space is away from other people in the home, and away from anything that could potentially act as a distraction. This space should be comfortable, quiet, and well-organized.
If you’re fortunate enough to have trusted friends or relatives that live nearby, you may be able to go to their home to use additional devices.