As students in the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences adapt to online instruction in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reached out to them to see how they’re adjusting to this new mode of learning. They’re telling us what works and what doesn’t as far as learning strategies online, and what they’re taking away from the experience.

Delaney Wallace is a double major in psychology and criminal justice. We caught up with her to talk online learning and the methods she’s used to excel during the tail end of this unusual spring semester.

What has been your favorite online learning approach?

My favorite e-learning approach would probably be in my social research methods class. It’s on Zoom, but everyone participates, and we all have our video and audio going which is kind of cool because it feels like we’re still in a classroom. In some ways, I think that it encourages people to participate more which is nice. I think it’s kind of cool that approach feels the most like a regular classroom setting.

What helps you focus?

The thing that probably helps me focus the most is deciding when I’m going to do schoolwork and making a to-do list of what I want to get done. If I’m in a class, I make sure to stay focused and have everything I need around me so I’m not getting up, and that minimizes distractions. Also, I think just staying somewhere that’s away from everyone else in my house is important because it’s so easy to find other things to entertain you. Staying on my own and knowing ahead of time what I want to get done helps me focus and remain productive.

How do you avoid distractions?

To avoid distractions, I just make sure that I know what I want to get done and allot myself a certain amount of time to be productive and then give myself breaks in between. I wouldn’t say I force myself to never get distracted because that’s sort of impossible, but I definitely time make sure I know what I want to get done and if the place I’m working at in the house isn’t working then I’ll go to a different spot and keep the doors closed or go outside if that’s less distracting. It’s important to switch up the approach to adapt.

How has online learning allowed you to stay connected with your Clemson community?

I think e-learning has allowed me to stay connected with the Clemson community by giving us all something we bond over. We already have Clemson in common, but now we’re all struggling in the same way with Zoom stuff or disappointments in other areas with things over summer being cancelled and that sort of thing.

We all have to figure this out together and none of us being an expert on what to do and how to navigate a pandemic has obviously not been ideal, but it has been kind of cool I think because we’re all on a level playing field. In some classes I’m getting to know people I might not have talked to otherwise, but now that we’re all like on a screen, it’s pretty cool.

I also think everyone is just a lot more understanding, so reaching out to other students whenever we miss something or don’t understand something and knowing that everyone is willing to help during a weird, difficult time has been really cool. I think everyone has kind of stepped up to the challenge that is e-learning.

What is your advice to eliminate stress? 

I would say my biggest piece of advice to eliminate stress would be just to sort of accept that it is going to be part of e-learning. Take a break when you feel frustrated. Go read or talk to a family member or reach out to a friend or something like that. If you just sit there and think about how stressed you are it only makes it worse, so just take a break and recognize whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed before it gets to be too much.

How are you focusing on the positive in light of these unusual circumstances?

I would say that in light of everything that is happening I’m focusing on the positive by thinking of things that I’ve always said I want to do or get around to trying out that I never had time for. I’m by myself and have more time than I’m honestly used to knowing what to do with.

It’s kind of cool just to think of things that during a normal school year I might not be able to do or really try out. Trying to find new things like that gives you something to look forward to. I think it’s important to just be patient and see it as an opportunity to be productive as opposed to just more time we have to kill.

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