For Students

Learning Remotely

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Keeping up with online courses may require more attention than you expect at first. We wanted to share with you some important updates on the academic support available during this time including:

  • Know the technology: Blackboard and Zoom will be the foundation for most courses being used over the six weeks across Gallaudet, so familiarize yourself now.
  • Keep to a schedule: Whether you are attending live-streamed classes remotely or watching recordings, it’ll be useful to make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. You won’t have the daily rhythm of campus life, so use calendaring tools or other means to keep track of everything. It’ll help you stay on top of your work.
  • Advocate for yourself: This is a new environment for both you and your professor. Because you’re not meeting face-to-face, the teaching staff might not recognize when you’re struggling – and other students might need the same thing! So when you realize that you need something, let your instructor and/or teaching fellow know. And for technology issues, get in touch with the IT Service Desk.
  • Make sure your work is your own: Continue to respect your school’s honor code when looking for help on assignments or tests. If needed, talk to your professor to clarify what is and isn’t allowed. 


To further assist your remote learning experience, we have collected additional materials on the technology involved (under Technology and Tools), tips for effective remote learning (under Maximize Your Learning), and ways to get help (Get Help) if technology becomes a challenge.

Maximize Your Learning

Everyone in the Gallaudet community – faculty, supporting staff, and students – is working together to continue your education experience.

  • A classroom is a classroom: a learning community that sees each other. Adopt the same norms (clothing, chair, etc.) as in a physical classroom.
  • Take notes. For many people taking notes during the class helps with focus and engagement.
  • Build on others’ questions and comments.
  • Silence/mute other computer apps (messages, calendar, etc.) while you are in class.
  • If watching pre-recorded lectures, pause periodically (5 minutes) and ask yourself what you’ve learned. What were the takeaways? What aren’t you clear on? If you can’t remember what was covered, go back and review.
  • If you have questions after finishing the lesson, reach out to your instructor, teaching fellows, and/or peers.
  • Keep track of assignment due dates (which might change from what is listed on the syllabus). Do not wait until the last minute to submit assignments. And make sure you submit assignments by the method the instructor has specified – don’t e-mail when you should have uploaded, etc.
  • Consider forming study groups with your classmates. Working through questions and concepts together is an important part of learning. You’ll have to spend some extra time getting that human contact when you’re learning online.
  • You’re not in the same physical space as your peers. Try to find a quiet place where you’ll be able to focus, gather the materials you’ll need (computer, headphones, assigned readings, notes, etc.), and commit to participating in the class.
  • Turn your camera on. When you’re in a physical classroom you’re visible; in an online classroom be visible too. Your instructor may call on you in class or have you break out into discussion groups with other students. It’s easier to communicate clearly – and engage fully – when you’re able to see each other.
  • Zoom Chat: it’s not just that you can communicate with your peers, but that your instructor can see what you communicate – which can be a powerful addition to the learning process. Keep Chat messages short and to the point. Writing lengthy questions may distract you and others – and class will have moved on.
  • Zoom Raise Hand: faculty are used to “reading the room” in the physical classroom, and this might be harder in some online contexts. You can use the Raise Hand feature [in the Participants control] to get their attention or use Chat to ask for clarification before the professor moves on.
  • Your instructor’s expectations for how you participate (speaking up, Raise Hand, submitting questions via Chat, etc.) may be different online. Make sure you understand their expectations. If you don’t know, ask.

Technology and Tools

The primary tools you will use are Blackboard and Zoom. Many students are already familiar with Blackboard, Gallaudet’s learning management system. Zoom is a web conferencing system that is integrated with professors and students.

  • Start by making sure you have a good internet or cell signal, in a quiet place free from distractions.
  • Download the Zoom software at zoom.us/download. Please note you will not need to register for an account to join. 
  • Go to zoom.us/test and check your internet connection, audio, and video. (If the audio isn’t working, make sure your computer volume is turned up and your microphone is on.)
  • Close tabs and applications you won’t need.
  • Turn your camera on (if needed).
  • Mute your mic (bottom left corner).
  • Zoom has several tools that your instructor might use. These include the ability to Raise Hand, Chat, and Breakout Rooms. Get familiar with them.
  • If Zoom freezes on you, give it a couple of seconds to reconnect.
  • Reach out by Chat to see if it’s a temporary glitch.
  • If you don’t hear or see anything, exit the meeting and try to re-connect.
  • If it’s slow or choppy, try turning off your camera (click “Start Video” in the bottom left corner until it’s crossed out).
  • See Get Help for further assistance.

University Resources

To maintain academic quality and support, Gallaudet University will provide online tutoring for students who may need additional academic support. Gallaudet strongly encourages all current tutors to consider continuing their roles as tutors and adjust their tutoring delivery toward our students online via Zoom (click here for more resources on using Zoom). Please work with eLearning for any technical-related issues. Students, if you are in need of tutoring services, please continue to use Navigate to set up an appointment with a tutor for these academic services. Tutors, you will continue to need to clock in/out using the same process as you have always had and please work with your department and/or tutor coordinators for any additional information you may need. If you have questions about Tutoring services or are unable to schedule tutoring, please email TIP@gallaudet.edu.

  • We are dedicated to not only providing our normal electronic access, but also investigating options for accessing physical materials held at Gallaudet.  We will receive requests for materials through library.help@gallaudet.edu and the online chat services on our website, https://www.gallaudet.edu/library.  The following links and LibGuides will assist with research and materials accessibility through our current library website.  We will be updating our webpage with further information and instructions throughout the coming days and weeks. Please contact us with any questions, requests, or comments at library.help@gallaudet.edu or (202) 779-9478 (videophone)  

    Guide for renewing books and videos, link to guide
    • The Gallaudet Archives is dedicated to providing students and faculty with access to physical materials via digitization and scanning work during this period of remote teaching and learning. We are available at archives@gallaudet.edu or on the website https://www.gallaudet.edu/archives-and-deaf-collections or videophone (202) 250-2604. Many resources from the Archives are available online at the website above, but let us know if there are additional archival assets you need assistance with during this time.

Students who are currently receiving OSWD services, please continue to work with the OSWD staff and your instructor to discuss accessibility needs as we work together to shift from face-to-face to online instruction. All OSWD students, as with all students, are instructed to follow the University protocol to leave campus as a precaution and for the purpose of safety.  If you feel that staying on campus is the only alternative to obtain high-quality access to education remotely, please complete the Special Request for Extension form online for consideration to remain on campus to receive academic support for remote learning.

All students who are currently participating in internships should adhere to the policies/protocols established by your internship site.  Communicate with your university supervisor about any changes to your internship, as this may have an impact on your ability to complete your program or attain licensure.  If you have local internships that are tied to your academic credit and need to stay on campus to continue tutoring, please complete the Special Request for Extension form online if you haven’t. Summer internships are pending and more information will be forthcoming. All students now studying abroad are returning home. Decisions on summer internships and study abroad are pending. For information regarding studying abroad, please contact abroad@gallaudet.edu.

Federal Student Aid just issued guidance about the use of Federal Work-Study (FWS) to support “disaster-affected” students.  As you know, Gallaudet is taking measures in response to COVID-19 through alternative instructional opportunities and students are still incurring tuition costs. Because students depend on Federal Work-Study to help pay those tuition expenses, we can and will allow students to continue receiving Federal Work-Study (FWS) funding during this time.

For our international students, the United States government is now permitting international students to take online courses while their university moves to remote instruction. International students need sign-offs before they leave the USA, and we will ensure that they (and visiting international scholars) are aware of the high likelihood that they might not be allowed to return or will be quarantined. International students who remain on campus may face emotional stress and isolation; ISSS will monitor, counsel, and refer to other units as warranted. Contact International Student and Scholar Services via ISSS@gallaudet.edu.

Academic/Faculty Advisors will remain available to help students with all academic decisions (e.g., declare majors, select courses for next fall). We encourage you to contact your academic/faculty advisors for any questions you may have.

For students who are being asked to leave their dormitory, there will be no room and board charges incurred after March 18, 2020.  You may wish to leave your dormitory earlier than March 18, you will still be billed room and board during that time prior to March 18, 2020.  If all or a portion of your housing and meal plan costs were paid for out of pocket, and you do not have any other outstanding charges to the University, then your money will be refunded to you. Please allow two weeks after your room and meal plan adjustments have been made to your student account for Student Financial Services to process your refund.  If you successfully appeal to remain on campus through the Special Request for Extension process, no changes will be made to your student account and your financial aid will not be impacted.  More information will be forthcoming from the Office of Financial Aid.

May 6 – 8: Final Examination Period. Any Final Exams that were intended to be conducted face-to-face will now be conducted remotely/virtually.

Get Help

How can I reach out to my professor?

It is important to stay in communication with your class. Make sure you know where and how you can get information and support.

  • Monitor your email and Blackboard
  • Attend virtual office hours if possible
  • Stay in touch with classmates
  • Do not be afraid to reach out to your instructor directly

How should I prepare for a take-home exam?

You can discuss with your professor via Zoom–yes, even during final weeks–to see how the strategies can be tailored to your learning.

  • Review test strategies: depending on the type of exam you are taking (multiple choice, short-answer essay, etc.), you may need to practice different strategies to stay as sharp as possible.
  • Make a list of what material the test is going to cover and what resources would be helpful to have at your fingertips. 
  • Keep a running list of any questions you have as you go through your preparations. Seek out the answers through your own resources and communication with your professor.

What are some general strategies for remote studying?

  • Designate a specific area as your workspace and only go there to study.
    • ​Why this works: Your brain picks up cues from your environment. If you try to work where you usually relax, you might find it difficult to focus.
    • How to do it: Choose a new place where you only go to work. This can be a completely different location (like a library or coffee shop), or a specific part of your home (like a dining room table). Going there will help your brain get into work mode.
  • Set (realistic!) daily goals.
    • Why this works: Having a goal to work towards is more motivating than generally wanting to “get something done,” and it’ll help you feel accomplished when you’re done for the day. 
    • How to do it: Each morning, write out a list of what you want to accomplish that day.