Student success in online classes

Published by , Date: April 4, 2020

Student Success Coaches are still hosting meetings for students via Zoom, or the students’ preferred method of communication, during the time of online classes.

Students that wish to have a meeting with their Success Coach can email their coach or visit the Student Success Coaches page of the Slippery Rock website to access a booking link.

Students that do not have a Success Coach can reach out by emailing to connect with one.

Emily McClaine, one of the Success Coaches, said that they want to help students succeed in the new environment while still providing the same services.

To help students maneuver through the new environment of online learning, the Success Coaches created multiple PDF pages on their webpage as resources to help students; including an Online Learning Essentials worksheet.

“The most difficult part of it from the students that I have talked to, is making sure about how they are going to make their new routine,” Julie Ferringer, a Success Coach said.

Ferringer referred to the Online Learning Essentials worksheet, and said that there are three main tips that the Success Coaches find important; writing down class expectations, creating a study space and devoting consistent time for class.

Earl Coburn, a Success Coach, said that it is important for students to maintain a routine, because that is what they are used to.

“In addition to that, just doing the thing you normally do in the morning,” Coburn said. “If I’m getting ready for work, I’m still brushing my teeth, taking a shower and getting dressed. I’m not in my pajamas right now because it’s work time.”

An app, a planner or a template are all ways the Success Coaches mentioned would help maintain a schedule.

On top of keeping up with routine, Ferringer said that creating a good work space where the student can study and think, will help with the transition to online learning.

On top of maintaining a schedule and finding a comfortable work space, McClaine encourages students to create a daily to-do list with class expectations, projects, papers, discussions and online tests.

“Having that in a format where you can cross it off gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps us feel motivated because those small wins really helps us recognize the progress we are making and feel good about that progression,” McClaine said.

If students are unsure how to apply the tips on the Online Learning Essentials worksheet, they can contact a Success Coach and book a session to help them apply the tip and navigate it.

Along with the Student Success Coaches page on the Slippery Rock website, Coburn advises students to also look at the Covid19 page to see what the rest of the semester looks like for different offices at the university.

“It’s a one stop shop about all the ways our university is moving forward, that way students know about it and they aren’t in the dark.”

The Success Coaches are also adjusting to the online transition and miss various aspects of the university and campus community.

McClaine said that she misses the energy that comes from the students and colleges.

Similarly, Coburn misses the daily bustle of the Smith Student Center, or places such as Boozel and Weisenfluh.

Farringer misses looking out her window and watching the students walk to class together, seeing them every day.

“I really get excited now, when I do hear [the students] pick up the phone when I call them, or when I get to see a Zoom meeting, because hearing their voice or seeing their face, makes a huge impact,” Ferringer said.

On top of reaching out to the Success Coaches, Ferringer also encourages students to reach out to their peers, even if it’s simply through a group chat.

All three coaches want students to know that they are not alone, and encourage students to reach out and use the resources available.

“There are a ton of caring professionals that know you, or maybe don’t know you, but we are here and we want to help you through this,” McClaine said. “We’ve got you. We’re here for you.”


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Hope is a senior converged journalism major entering her third year on The Rocket staff and her second year as campus life editor. Previously, she served as assistant campus life editor after contributing to the campus life section her freshman year. After graduation, she hopes to report for a paper either in local journalism or city news. Outside of The Rocket, Hope is also part of the JumpStart Mentor Program, the Student Organization of Latinos Hispanics and Allies (SOL) and Lambda Pi Eta.


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