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Families Supporting Students During Online Classes

Families, it can be a challenge to know how to help your student during this time in online classes. Family Programs is here to help you help your student!


The decision to move classes online has had a big impact on the student experience. Your student may have never taken a course online before and may be struggling with how to succeed. They may also be nervous about losing the connections they’ve made on campus and that may be causing them distress as well.

You want to help your student as much as you can, but you’re navigating this with them. Here are a few things you can do to help your student during this time:

Know online tools – They are here to make your student’s life easier.

Familiarize yourself with Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts and other similar video conferencing platforms that UT may be using. There are plenty of video tutorials out there to walk you through each of them and understanding them with help your student understand them as well.

Organization– Forming good habits now can make all the difference when it comes to learning online.

Encourage your student to start and maintain a routine. By starting each day the same way, you’ll find it is so much easier to stay on track. It gives you a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning and getting out of your pajamas definitely helps to change your mindset.

Some students thrive when they can see the day’s tasks laid out before them. A calendar (either virtual or physical) can help students visualize what their day will look like.

Create a dedicated learning space. This may not always be possible, but if you can, designate a place to be a “classroom”. Mentally, having a dedicated space will help them focus on schoolwork, and be a lot more productive with their time.

Engage with UT

Make sure your student is reaching out to their professors when they have questions. Communication is going to be key to ensure success.

Think about creating virtual study groups with friends. Private Facebook groups or scheduled video chats are great forums for your student to engage with friends and classmates. There is strength in numbers.

Encourage your student to stay engaged with their friends and organizations that they were involved in on campus! UT has launched a calendar that is full of virtual events and ways to stay involved with campus life while they’re at home.

Virtual Engagement and Success Calendar

Practice Self-Care

Start a family-workout routine! This is not only a great way to get in shape and have some family bonding but gives your student something to look forward to before or after classes.

Students also have access to virtual fitness classes with RecSports! Check out the calendar of classes. 

Get plenty of sleep. Remember what I said about the importance of a good morning routine? It’s a lot harder to maintain one if your student isn’t getting enough sleep.

Be Their Support System

There is no doubt that students are going to struggle at some point during online classes. Be there for them and show them that you’re there to help them in any way you can. This is going to be a learning experience for everyone and we’re all in this together.

If you have concern for your student’s wellbeing and believe them to be in distress, call 947-HELP. This referral line was developed to help distressed or distressing students reach their academic goals and to help maintain a safe community and learning environment for all students. 947-HELP is a safe and private way to share a concern for a fellow Vol and a way for students to get help for themselves.