Keep Learning Remotely

The following steps will help you determine your readiness for remote learning.

We know that the current situation is stressful and will be challenging for many, but the Mines community is resilient and supportive. We will get through all of this together as Orediggers. Please be patient with yourself, your classmates, your family, and your instructors during this time. Take care of your wellbeing first. 

1. Access Your Online Learning Platform, Canvas

Tips for the Remote Environment

Remote Learning Through Canvas

Your online learning environment, Canvas, will be used to access your courses, submit assignments, and communicate with your instructors and peers. To obtain information about how to access Canvas, visit the eLearning Resources page. You will need to select the “Canvas Access” button to log in to Canvas.

Prepare for Remote Learning

Access the Guide to Online Learning (self-enroll) to work through a sample experience of an online course offered in the online learning environment.

Additional Resources

Canvas also provides several resources you may want to review: Step-by-Step Guides and Quick Start Videos.

2. Remotely Access Lab Desktops for Specific Courses

Getting Started with VPN and Remote Desktop Connections

Connecting to Desktops in Campus Labs

Your courses may require continued access to specific software that is only available on a Mines lab computer. ITS has made Remote Desktop access available for students to continue working- just like you would in the lab. See the directions below to obtain access: 

  1. Follow the directions for setting up remote access to the VPN (Viscosity) for Mac or Windows (PC).
  2. Follow the Lab Remote Desktop Instructions for step-by-step instructions on accessing applications in campus labs.

Please submit a support ticket if you experience any technical issues connecting to the VPN or desktops on campus.

3. Access Online Lectures/Office Hours, Zoom

Getting Started with Zoom

Preparing for Your First Zoom Meeting

15 Minutes Before Your Meeting

  • Find a quiet space with strong WiFi that is free of distractions. You can test your internet connection speed by visiting Zoom’s suggested third party bandwidth tester, Speedtest.
  • Access the Zoom link sent to you from your instructor. Once accessed, it will open via the downloaded program, app, or through your web browser.
  • Test your headphones, microphone, and camera to make sure the class can hear and see you (and vice versa).
    • To test your microphone, click “Test Computer Mic & Speakers” in the pop-up window that appears when first opening a test meeting or beginning your scheduled meeting. More information on audio testing can be found on the Zoom Support website.
    • To test your camera, look at the Zoom window to see that you are clearly visible, non-pixellated, and can move and speak without noticeable delays. Please note: you should only turn your camera on if your instructor asks you to turn it on. We will need to try to reserve bandwidth as much as possible. 
    • You may need to give Zoom permission to access your camera and microphone beforehand. Typically, the request for permission will appear in a pop-up window the first time you open a Zoom Meeting, and will carry over to future meetings. If you declined permissions in the past, you will need to go into your PC or Mac’s settings to allow Zoom to access your camera and microphone.
    • Close any windows or programs open on your device that are unrelated to your meeting. This focuses your device’s power to provide the best Zoom meeting experience possible, and prevents potential embarrassing moments if you happen to share your screen.

During Your Zoom Meeting

  • If your instructor asks you to start your video, click the Start Video button to begin broadcasting from your webcam.
  • Click the Chat bubble to ask questions via text, share links to websites, and keep up with the class’s back-channel discussion. You can chat to everyone in the meeting, just the professor, or a specific person.
  • Find out who else is in the meeting by clicking Participants. This is also where you can “raise your hand” to ask a question, answer a question, or start an intense philosophical debate.
  • Be prepared to share your screen with the class. Remember, they can see the tabs you have open.
  • At the end of the class, click Leave Meeting.

4. Explore Online Learning Tips and Tricks

Strategies for Remote Learning

Participate Actively and Regularly 

Being actively engaged in your online course is critical to your success. Review the top five tips for how to stay engaged in your online courses. You will also want to be sure to:

  • Communicate with professors right away if you are struggling with the online format, if you have internet connectivity issues, or if you expect to be absent due to illness or personal reasons related to COVID-19. 
  • Attend open office hours virtually with professors. It’s another way to stay connected and get the intellectual and emotional support students need during distance learning. 

Acquire the Necessary Technology, if Possible

Students are expected to meet these minimum technology requirements to be successful. You can also do the following things:

  • If you have concerns, talk to your instructor to get help. Don’t be afraid to ask for extensions.  
  • If you are experiencing internet connectivity issues, check with your local internet provider. Many internet and phone providers are offering free internet and data plans for students.
  • Reach out for assistance with Canvas, IT or academic issues. 

Stay Organized

With so many things changing in your courses, you might be reliving that first-week-of-class confusion at finals-week pace. Your instructors will be sending you updated information so you will know where to log-in for classes beginning on March 30, 2020. The majority of your classes will be using primarily Canvas and Zoom.

There parts of your courses that will be presented “live” through remote access tools such as Zoom or Canvas. You will need to know the answers to the following questions:

  • Where can you find the link to your live session or how do you access it?
  • Is it at a specific day/time or can you watch the session anytime?
  • Are assignments changing?
  • What are the adjustments to due dates?
  • Find out how you’re submitting your assignments.
  • What should you do if you need help?
    • When is each instructor offering virtual office hours? And on what platform?
    • Is there an online forum for asking questions?

Avoid Multitasking

If you’re doing more work on your own and your time is less structured, you might be more tempted to multitask. Many people think they can do multiple things at once. But research shows us that we shift tasks but don’t really multitask. Even if you feel like you’re multitasking, you’re probably not… really, you’re switching between tasks very quickly (some call this “micro-tasking”).

Set a Schedule

As the situation unfolds, you may have fewer social- commitments, group meetings, or work hours. Setting a schedule for yourself can help provide structure and keep you motivated. Include time for exercise and self-care.

Trade your Strategies for New Ones

Your routines may have to adjust during this time. Look for ways to adapt your usual habits or form new ones. For example:

  • If you usually study in a coffee shop or library, ask yourself what kind of environment helps you. See if you can recreate that at home. Maybe it’s studying at a table, rather than on your bed or couch, or moving to a new spot periodically. If you feel you need background noise, consider a white noise app.
  • If you always study in groups, try a virtual or even phone-based study session with your group. CASA has tutoring and other supports setup for you as well on their website.
  • If you thrive on tight timelines, but now have a more open schedule, think about how working with others or setting up a schedule can recreate that for when that gets hard, see if you can even do fifteen minutes at a time.
  • Create a schedule for yourself. Mark off times in your calendar for lectures/classes, studying, exercising and eating. Set up your study groups throughout the week, so you can have regular contact with your peers.
  • Make sure your workstation is comfortable. Add a pillow to a chair seat or back if needed. Remember to stand up every hour that you are working.

Work with a Group or Team

Working collaboratively with your peers is definitely possible in a virtual environment. Here are a couple strategies to help you be successful: 

  • Try not to procrastinate. That group project may be out-of-sight, out-of-mind if you aren’t connecting with each other. Resist the urge to put it off.
  • Connect regularly, especially if you usually touch base during class or lab. Consider a quick text on your group chat about progress every couple of days. Ideally, have real conversations using videoconferencing (e.g., Zoom) or other social media connections each week or more frequently as needed.
  • Set a purpose for meetings and use a shared notes. Meetings might feel different when using video, even if your team was really good at working informally in the past. Try to set the purpose of your meeting in advance by organizing an agenda for the meetings. Take notes in a shared document so you can all contribute and follow along.
  • Check on each other and ask for backup. If someone has been absent from your group meetings or chat, check on them to see if they need assistance. You can also ask them directly if they’re still able to participate in the project. If you aren’t getting responses within a day or two, let your instructor know. Know it isn’t being petty, it’s your team’s responsibility.

Stay Connected to Other People

Even if we limit how much face-to-face time we spend with others in person (close proximity), connecting with family and friends might be more important than ever. And staying in touch with instructors, classmates, and group mates is still important for continued classwork.

  • Schedule video calls with friends and family. Talking with loved ones is often really helpful when you’re stressed or nervous about something. Taking a break to have a laugh is also important.
  • Connect with classmates to talk through problems, study together remotely, or just catch up through Canvas, Zoom, Google Hangouts or other connection platforms.
  • Attend virtual office hours or study groups so that you can stay up on your coursework.

Please remember, this will pass.

If COVID-19 has disrupted your travel plans, ended a lab experiment you were excited about, or for any reason feels like it came at the worst possible time, remember this is temporary. You’ll find your way when it settles down. You’ll get back on track, and things will get back to normal. We don’t know when, but it will happen.

Until then, take a deep breath, do your best, get some rest, and reach out if you need assistance (see #5 below). 

5. Collaborate with your Peers

Strategies for Collaborating

Maintaining contact with your peers (for example through virtual study groups) will help reduce feelings of isolation, will help keep you on track in your courses, and will provide intellectual and emotional support systems. Students can use Canvas, Zoom, and other tools to stay connected. Check out some suggestions below:

Canvas Tools 

Use Canvas Groups and Discussions for easy ways to collaborate with your peers in Canvas.

Zoom Tools 

Divide into groups and use Zoom Breakout Rooms to collaborate in real-time.

Use Other Tools 

Explore other tools supported by Mines.

6. Review Support Provided by Mines

Access to Support @ Mines

CASA Advising and Academic Support Information

Academic Advising: CASA is hosting “walk-in” advisement from 7am-7pm via Zoom from March 30-April 3. Visit bit.ly/CASAwalkin to join the Zoom advisement “waiting room” to receive 1:1 assistance from a CASA advisor.

Tutoring will be offered virtually through TutorOcean, a tutoring platform that allows Mines students to schedule 1:1 appointments online with Mines Tutors. Visit mines.tutorocean.com to create your account today. Tutoring hours will be extended beyond our typical Sun-Thurs 5pm-11pm for greater assistance, and the AMS Learning Center is also hosting their tutoring through TutorOcean. For more information about how TutorOcean works, view a short demo video.

Core Review Sessions are moving to Zoom. We’re updating our Core Review Session with the new schedule.

Faculty in CASA will continue to happen virtually through Zoom or TutorOcean. We’re updating our CASA website with new hours and will be adding more over the coming week.

Academic Support resources are being posted on the CASA website. CASA advisees were recently notified of a free resource through Innovative Educators to access online learning orientation and student success workshops through April 17th. Create an account and start exploring the resources today!

Academic Coaching will continue virtually through Zoom meetings with CASA advisors. Do you have questions about time management, study skills, or other academic support topics? Visit the CASA website to learn more about coaching.

Please reach out to us with your questions! We added an online live chat feature to our website which allows us to instantly communicate with you if you have a question when visiting our website. You can also call or text us through our Google phone number: 720-260-4674. If we don’t answer right away we’re likely on the phone with someone else; please leave a message and we’ll return your call ASAP. You can also email us at casa@mines.edu.

AMS Learning Center

The AMS Learning Center is available to all undergraduate and graduate students seeking tutorial assistance with mathematics courses, homework, and exam preparation.  Look for our AMS Peer Tutors on TutorOcean.

CARE@Mines

The CARE Team at Mines provides assistance to the campus community to help access and find solutions for managing these difficult situations.

Disability Support Services 

Disability Support Services (DSS) is the office to contact for students, parents, and faculty who seek information about disability accommodations, including documentation guidelines and types of accommodations available at Mines.

Diversity, Access and Inclusion

Connect with DI&A directly in Teams to share your concerns about equity, inclusion, and access related to distance learning.  

Registrar’s Office 

The Registrar’s office is open but operating remotely. Contact them at registrar@mines.edu or by using the new chat feature at the bottom right of the Registrar’s homepage. The Registrar’s office has also released guidance on Pass/No-Pass/Withdraw options.

Student Wellness

Visit the Student Wellness Center website for information about your health and wellness – especially if you’re experiencing anxiety related to COVID-19. 

The Library

Online resources (e-books, e-journals, databases) are available from off-campus via the Library Website. Just locate the resource you need and log in with your Mines Multipass when prompted. Additional directions can be found on the Off Campus Access LibGuide.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center offers online appointments with live consultants via chat, audio and/or video.  We are happy to work with you at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming ideas to reviewing a draft of your paper.

Immediate Technical Support:  303-384-2000 or via Online Chat
Hours: 7AM7PM Monday-Friday and 7AM-6PM Saturday and Sunday 

Assistance, Support, and Issues

Assistance for Canvas, Zoom, VPN, and any academic issues can be obtained by visiting the site below.