Digital resources for online learning

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Anthony Johnson
ONLINE REPORTER

Online learning is different from in-person education, but it doesn’t have to be less constructive. Illustration by Mars Nevada/The Gateway.

After a hasty switch to online learning in the spring and a mostly closed campus over the summer, UNO is preparing for a reopened fall semester. But this isn’t going to be a return to normalcy quite yet, with many classes being taught remotely or online.

Online learning can be drastically different from in-person instruction, but that doesn’t mean it has to be less constructive. You can take advantage of these resources to make the most out of your online classes:

Time Management Tools

One of the biggest advantages of online learning is also one of its disadvantages: flexibility. Creating a schedule for yourself will likely be your responsibility, which means it will be all too easy to leave everything to the last minute. Setting reminders on your phone or using apps to keep track of your habits can help you stay on top of things.

Keeping work time and relaxation time separate can be difficult when it’s all done at home. During normal times, that transition often comes naturally during a commute. Taking a few minutes or more to stop what you’re doing and calm your head before or after you sit down to do work can substitute that routine. You can also use apps like Time Out or BreakFree to help keep you accountable for taking some time away from your electronic devices.

 UNO’s Writing Center

Writing assignments without in-person direction from your instructor can be nerve-wracking, but UNO’s Writing Center is still offering online appointments. Both undergraduate and graduate students can help with any step in the writing process, including brainstorming, drafting, formatting and citing sources.

Using the WCONLINE system, consultants can work with a student’s text directly, and video and audio chat are optional. As of now, most appointments will be held online but socially distanced in-person consultations will also be available. This may be subject to change as the semester progresses. Purdue OWL is also a great resource for the specifics of citation styles like MLA and APA.

 UNO Tutoring Centers

The Speech Center offers consultations for presentation projects over Zoom. Speech center consultants help with all aspects of public speaking including organization, visual aids and boosting confidence. Students can make an appointment through the Speech Center’s scheduling website.

The Math-Science Learning Center will be entirely online this semester. Through UNO’s website, you’ll be able to find Zoom links to meet with tutors for various subjects like mathematics, geography or biology. Students can “drop in” without an appointment, and they’ll be muted automatically until the tutor is available to work with them. Individual tutors will have their hours listed on the website.

EBooks

To prepare for the semester, affordable ebooks can be found from websites like Vitalsource and Chegg. Chegg also offers tutoring and a mobile app for quick help with homework. Using ebooks instead of physical textbooks can save you money, stress and space in your book bag.

Ebooks can also be convenient when reading for pleasure, since they can be available everywhere you go. If listening to books is more your speed, Audible has a broad catalog of audiobooks.

You can check out Criss Library’s online catalog, and you can also try out the other resources they provide, including research guides and consultations with subject librarians. UNO libraries have over 500,000 ebooks, historical newspapers and government documents as well as 200 databases for research.

 Microsoft Office Free Download

UNO students can download Microsoft Office 365 Pro Plus for free, courtesy of UNO’s Information Technology Services. Simply follow the instructions listed on the website and download on up to five devices.

Information and Technology Services is also available to answer any tech-related questions, online or in-person. Their contact information can be found on their website.

 UNO Counseling and Psychological Services

The pandemic and the subsequent social distancing has made maintaining mental health more difficult and important than ever. Feelings of uncertainty, health anxiety and social isolation have become normal for many students.

UNO’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers appointments over the phone and through Zoom, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Counselors are trained to work with students for up to 10 free sessions and can refer individuals who need more support. In addition, support groups are being held via Zoom.

Students can call CAPS at 402-554-2409 to make an appointment or if they need immediate help during a crisis. Crisis help is available after hours and when the university is closed. Students can also call UNO Public Safety at 402-554-2911.

Accommodations

Students with disabilities or those who need unique assistance — including with COVID-19 related difficulties — can request accommodations through the Accessibility Services Center. Both remote and in-person services are available. The campus office is open Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and online Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays with the same hours.

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