Virtual Learning Support

These are extraordinary times, times that will challenge us to work together, to seek support, to offer support. The McGraw Center is here to support ALL students-- first years through seniors--to adapt to the new and unfamiliar ways you are being taught and the expectations and demands that go with these changes to so many aspects of academic life. We want to reassure you that we intend to face these challenging circumstances with a spirit of camaraderie, resourcefulness and resilience, and to tackle difficulties as they arise creatively and strategically.

The McGraw Center has moved all of its programming—tutoring, learning consultations, and workshops--to virtual synchronous formats using Zoom and we’ve even added new services including student-led study groups and course jumpstarts. At the same time, we believe that helping students work collaboratively with peers will be crucial during this period of virtual instruction and remote learning and so we encourage you to reach out to friends and classmates to work together. Using resources and working collaboratively can be helpful not only academically but also for managing the increased stresses many are encountering in other parts of their lives. We’re glad we are here to support you during these challenging times and we look forward to working with you this fall and beyond.

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 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. Subscribe. 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 the McGraw Center be offering this fall for students?

During the fall semester's remote learning period, the McGraw Center will 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) on regular schedules, and we 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 lives and studies. Go to the specific webpages for more details about hours, signing up, and alterations to usual practices.

What should families know about McGraw Services for the Fall 2020 semester?

The McGraw Center’s Undergraduate Learning Program, consisting of group (study hall) and individual tutoring, individualized learning consultations, and workshops, has moved all programs and services online. Students will be able to receive tutoring (group and individual) in the same set of courses we have supported om past terms. 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 (using Zoom) 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 information about our virtual learning support and the campus’s response to the COVID-19 virus. 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 by completing our form: McGraw Center Support for Students.

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.

In addition to making and joining McGraw and your own study groups/partners, attending tutoring and workshops and meeting with a learning consultant both to build skills and connections, you can make arrangements with friends and classmates. As you might under normal circumstances arrange to “attend” the lecture portion of a course (whether live or recorded) with a friend or classmate. Invite your lecture partner to a Zoom meeting  and once they arrive pull up the recorded lecture in another tab. Then share the screen so the two of you can watch lecture and also see and interact with one another. You can stop the video and ask each other questions if we needed and debrief a bit after the lecture as you might as you were walking out of class when on campus. One learning consultant reported that he debriefed for about 20 minutes after each lecture and as he put it, “it has been great”. While productive, this kind of arrangement can be fun, too. This student mentioned that  the recorded lecture is automatically transcribed and captioned - there are often some funny errors in the transcriptions which usually “require” on their part a pause and a bit of funny banter.

He extended this in another course to two friends to make a triad. He says, “Just a good excuse to get together and catch up and extra motivation for watching the lectures!”

​​​​​​​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’ needs and update our Engaging and Learning Online resource with new advice. You can help us meet your needs by telling McGraw what new demands you are encountering by completing our form: McGraw Center Support for Students.

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 We recommend that all questions be directed via email as we may not be available for phone calls on a regular basis. We anticipate we will be able to respond to all inquiries within 2 work days.