Students get free access to Success in Online Learning course

Student in online class

UO has enrolled all undergraduate and transfer students in a free, online experience that serves as a toolkit for student success in remote instruction.

The Success in Online Learning Student Resource Kit is a noncredit, nongraded course designed to help new or struggling students learn better online.

The guided resource is available by logging in through community.uoregon.edu and lists modules by topics, such as “Increasing Motivation, Reducing Procrastination,” “Taking Notes” and “Study Plans for Finals.” The topics can be explored in any order and allow students to easily find what they need. They feature video presentations, self-reflection prompts and other core activities.

One friendly face guiding students through the videos is Elly Vandegrift, program director for global science education initiatives at the UO’s Global Studies Institute. Prior to this role, Vandegrift was a study skills instructor in the UO’s Teaching and Learning Center for six years, and she also ran professional development trainings for faculty members.

“I drew on a lot of those skills — what we know about how people learn, best practices and evidence-based research about how students can best use their independent time — to pull my material together,” Vandegrift said.

The course is available to any UO student regardless of class standing, but these are especially important skills for first-year students, Vandegrift said. That’s because one way college differs from high school is in the greater volume of new material and the smaller number of opportunities to review things from prior days or weeks as a class.

That shift of rhythm and structure can be rough for first-year students, Vandegrift said, “and that’s even more pronounced right now when students don’t have to go to a place at a particular time for a class. You have to be really self-driven and self-directed.”

Making videos is new to her, but Vandegrift’s approach is informed by many meetings with students seeking better time management skills at the Teaching and Learning Center.

Also helping produce and lead the videos was Jennifer Rice, a senior instructor at the UO’s American English Institute. Both she and Vandegrift won Herman awards in 2017 – Rice for outstanding online education; and Vandegrift for specialized pedagogy as a biology instructor.

The two took special care to make sure the Success in Online Learning experience won’t be perceived as simply a tutorial on how to take online courses. Rather, the course is set up to mimic an in-person course as closely as possible, with an overview, material delivery and dedicated time for review and reflection.

—By Anna Glavash, University Communications