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Your instructors have worked to adapt their courses for a very different kind of teaching and learning than is typical for Grinnell. We are all making a grand shift! If you have any questions about a specific course, please contact your instructor.

Below are resources geared towards helping you be successful as a distance eLearner – from new technologies to new learning strategies. Click on each heading below for more information.

Make sure you are ‘online ready’. If you encounter any technology-related barriers (e.g., needing a digital device, don’t have the right software, etc.), get in touch with your instructor or faculty advisor. Contact the Technology Services Desk to get help with specific software or platforms.

The FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge webpage includes more information about internet companies that have pledged to make broadband or telephone connectivity more available during the COVID-19 crisis.

Looking for software you need for class? ITS is trying to make as much software available remotely as possible. Visit the  “Remotely Accessible Software” page on SharePoint to find a list of software that are available to faculty and students at this time. ITS is continuing to update this list.

Make sure you can access courses in P-Web and know where to access platforms like Collaborate (from within P-Web), WebEx (link or call-in number from instructor; Guide to WebEx meetings for students), Microsoft Teams (log in to Office 365), and Office 365 that instructors may be using after break.
  • Email: [ITservices]
  • Phone: 641-269-4901

Disability and Assistive Technology staff can help you think through your existing needs and what any new accommodations might look like in a distance learning environment.

Best contact: Accessibility and Disability Resources

  • Email: [hirschma]
  • Phone: 641-269-3089

There have been many changes to academic policies in Spring 2020, most notably regarding deadlines for academic exceptions.

Review this guidance, too, if you are considering changing to S/D/F grading, withdrawing from a course, or asking for extended time at the end of the semester.

Best Contacts:

Information for Summer 2020 Courses

Grinnell will offer a limited number of online courses during the summer of 2020, which are open to students who meet designated criteria for eligibility. Please consult these documents for current information, and watch this space for more updates.

Shifting to Remote Digital Learning

Spring 2020 will forever be remembered as the semester Grinnell shifted to all remote digital learning for the first time.  Although adapting to a new way of learning and a new way of life simultaneously may be challenging, you have resources here to support you.  The Academic Resource Centers (ARCs) are online, open, and ready to connect.  Check out this complete list of ARC contacts for details.

Remote digital learning requires us to find intentional space and time to engage in learning and producing work.  This is your opportunity to make your schedule work for you. Take stock of your academic workload (i.e., reading, listening to lectures, watching videos, producing work) for each class and write deadlines down on a calendar or planner. Then reflect on what times of day you best engage with these various tasks.  From there, you can create a schedule template and daily task sheet (link to Academic Advising schedule template) that can function as your “work schedule” and help keep you on track. Be sure to show up for all your shifts!

What else besides a regular schedule has contributed to you being your best academic self?  Consider these tried and true suggestions: having a regular sleep schedule, maintaining an organized workspace, and taking breaks to do things that refuel you in a positive way.  Because this shift is happening mid-semester, don’t hesitate to change your approach and ask for help if you find yourself being unproductive. Email Academic Advising [advising] or visit their SharePoint page to get in touch.

To learn more about strategies and best practices, check out: Kenneth R. Rosen, “How to Work from HomeNew York Times (19 September 2017)

You’ll be getting a lot of screen time in the coming weeks. It might seem impossible to think about screen time limits, but considering that you’ll be online for many hours each day, it may be wise to stay off your computer and phone for at least some of your downtime.   One way to accomplish this would be to have tabs open on your computer that you need for classes and nothing else.  Use your phone for entertainment and socializing. 

You may need to give particular attention to managing negative emotions in order to stay motivated and be productive.  Using your schedule as a basis for getting started each day will likely help get the ball rolling, and once there’s movement, it’s much easier to keep things going.  This may be the perfect time to start a journal; take a few moments at the beginning and end of each day to process thoughts and feelings related to the uncertainty that currently exists. 

Below are a few articles that give some excellent advice that is practical and sound.

Your engagement and feedback is both essential and invaluable to remote digital learning.  It is critical that you are clear on all your potentially new expectations for course completion.  You can ensure this clarity by using the continuity planner template provided by Middlebury College.

The planner template includes important and helpful questions about topics like….


  • How is your professor intending to communicate course updates with you?
  • How is your professor intending to communicate course materials with you?
  • How is your professor intending to communicate course content with you?
  • How else is your professor communicating with you?

Academic Plan

  • What I am expected to do to attend class? When and how?
  • What assignments and activities am I expected to complete? How? Where do I upload them?
  • Other academic notes

Technology Needs

  • What web-based (can be used through a web browser) software do I need for this course?
  • What desktop-based (must download to use) do I need for this course?
  • What hardware or physical tools do I need for  this course?
  • Other technology needs

This is the perfect time to ask questions if you’re not sure about something, because it may prompt your professor to address a question they have yet to face. This is not the time to reduce communication with your professor.  Aim for communicating with each professor at least once per week. 

We may realize how much we take classroom interactions for grated once we’re all online.  So much of learning comes from interaction, so it is essential to stay in communication with your fellow learners. 

Depending on course settings, you may be able to use Collaborate within P-Web to interact with classmates or work on group projects. Students are encouraged to contact their instructor for guidance and suggestions about platforms to use for collaborating with classmates.
Microsoft Teams (log in to Office 365), email, and Office 365 are also secure resources available to support collaborative work.
Learn more: “Tips & Tools for Online Study Groups” from Bethel’s Academic Enrichment and Support Center

Additional Resources

The Division of Student Affairs Facebook page will have regular postings with suggestions of how to adapt and succeed in an online learning environment.

Academic Advising

See also:

The views and opinions expressed on individual web pages are strictly those of their authors and are not official statements of Grinnell College. Copyright Statement.