COVID-19 Updates: Learning Program FAQs for Undergraduate Students - Spring 2020

This FAQ page is designed to keep you up to date about changes to the McGraw Undergraduate Learning Program's services and to point you to additional materials related to the initiation of virtual teaching and learning as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the University’s response. Please bookmark it or check it periodically to stay informed about new developments to our programs, services, materials and other resources. All services remain cost-free. 

Use McGraw online materials, including this advice specifically for adapting to virtual instruction, to learn more effectively and efficiently.

What does it mean to learn virtually?

Shifting all courses online has never been done before at Princeton. You are part of a team of explorers, figuring out this question together.

Be assured that you are not alone in feeling disoriented in this new way of teaching and learning. Your professors are also rapidly learning how to do something they aren’t very familiar with, using unfamiliar tools. You can learn more about technological tools for learning virtually in the Student Guide to Engaging and Learning Online.

What services will McGraw be offering after spring break?

During the spring semester's remote learning period, we aim to offer virtually individual tutoring (by appointment), study hall group tutoring (priority given to appointments with drop-in options), learning consultations (by appointment) and workshops and discussion groups (RSVP requested, but not required) largely as scheduled, and will continue to make available online materials, including Principedia. Please remember that most services are provided by Princeton students who are also dealing with the disruption to their own studies. Go to the specific webpages for more details about hours, signing up, and alterations to usual practices.

What services will McGraw be offering during spring break (March 14-22)?

McGraw will be offering limited remote learning consultations--no in-person consultations will be held even if both you and the consultant are on campus. Sign up using our regular appointment system.

What should families know about McGraw Services for the remainder of the semester?

The McGraw Center’s Undergraduate Learning Program, consisting of group (study hall) and individual tutoring, individualized learning consultations, and workshops, intends to modify its offerings by moving them online. We anticipate that students will be able to receive tutoring (group and individual) in the same set of courses we have supported thus far this term. Students can also receive support for learning in any Princeton course and for independent work by signing up for individualized learning consultations conducted online. Online learning strategy workshops on a variety of topics will be conducted as scheduled. All services remain cost-free.

How can I find out the latest information about McGraw services?

In addition to our regular webpages, we have created this webpage dedicated to our response to the COVID-19 virus and the campus’s response. It will be updated daily during work days. We will continue to send out our weekly email newsletter, ‘LearnPrinceton’ and send flyers announcing services, including workshops and learning consultations on a regular (weekly) basis.

As a student, what challenges can I expect from moving instruction online?

In addition to technological and logistical challenges, motivation and engagement demands as well as time management and learning challenges will likely be increased. Your day will likely be more unstructured, teaching modalities more passive, and you will probably be processing and producing more written texts, largely on your own. We have created Engaging and Learning Online to address students’ questions and concerns, share advice, and assist you as you adapt and strategize to meet new expectations and demands. We’ll continue to seek out students’ demands and needs and update that page with resources and advice. You can help us meet your needs by telling McGraw what new demands you are encountering here.

What are the most effective motivation, time management and learning strategies in courses moved online?

Many strategies for learning, studying, preparing for exams, etc. will be the same, but some will need to be adapted to the format of instruction, expectations of instructors, and demands of new modes of teaching and learning. Time management and motivation demands change, too, when students are not on campus and do not have the cues, structure an social support we take for granted on a residential campus. 

Recognize that there is no single best advice, that what is effective depends on the type of course and what is taught and tested (not to mention the learning profile of the student), but we can provide some, initial, general advice and more specific, detailed  guidance in response to other FAQ items. 

In addition to our current set of online resources, we have created Engaging and Learning Online to address students’ questions and concerns, share advice, and assist you as you adapt and strategize to meet new expectations and demands. We’ll continue to seek out students’ demands and needs and update that page with resources and advice.

How do I deal with spending so much time by myself, working alone and isolated?

Strive to make your academic work as collaborative as possible. Create study groups, contact friends to serve as accountability partners, be proactive in your classes to reach out to students you don’t already know. And, of course, devote non-academic time to meeting your social needs and just having fun “with” others. Social spacing and reducing interpersonal contact is crucial to stemming the spread of the virus, but can have adverse effects on our mental and emotional health which, in turn, can undermine our resistance and physical health.

Taking into account your academic and other obligations, one way to feel connected and retain a sense of purpose is by serving others. “During difficult times, research suggests that teenagers feel better when they turn their attention to supporting others. After a 2006 flood destroyed a small town in southern Poland, one study found that the teenagers who provided the highest levels of social support to fellow flood victims were the ones who went on to express the most confidence about their ability to face challenges in their own lives.” (5 Way to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About Coronavirus, NYTimes, Lisa Damour)

​​​​​​​How do I connect to Disability Services?

If you have a documented disability, and are finding that learning online is presenting you with difficulty, contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS). ODS is operating remotely, and is taking online requests for help and information.

We’ll continue to seek out students’ demands and needs and update that page with resources and advice. You can help us meet your needs by telling McGraw what new demands you are encountering here.

If you have questions or concerns about the McGraw Center's academic support Programs and services or information about virtual learning for undergraduate students, we encourage you to email us mcgugrad@princeton.edu. We recommend that all questions be directed via email as we may not be available for a phone call or in the office on a regular basis. We anticipate we will be able to respond to all inquiries within 2 work days.