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How should I study now that Spring Quarter is remote and there's a S/NC policy?

  • Design your workspace for focused productivity. As much as possible, you’ll want to set up your home workspace for maximum focus. You might not be able to control every aspect of the space, but here are some things to consider if you have the option:​​
  • Close the door to reduce interruption
  • Sit at a desk or table where you can spread out your materials
  • Remove anything from your workspace not related to the task at hand
  • Use a chair that is comfortable, but not so comfortable you’ll fall asleep in it
  • Wear ear plugs or listen to background music (so long as it’s not disruptive) to reduce ambient sound distractions
  • Let others know in advance when you’re available to talk, and when you’d like to be left alone to study
  • If you’re working in your room, make your bed to reduce the temptation to work in it or to take a counterproductively long nap. (If you do decide to nap, try to keep it under 20 minutes!)
  • Provide yourself with healthy things to drink or snack on 
  • As tempting as it is to work in your pajamas, this may not be conducive to feeling committed to the exertions of learning. So get ready for the day as if you were leaving the house!
  • Ensure a productive digital workspace. For most, that means silencing your phone and putting it out of sight, closing unnecessary tabs on your computer, turning off computer notifications, and so on. 
  • Focus on the positive. The S/NC policy for Spring Quarter is a departure from what many students are used to. Some might find it unsettling or even upsetting. This is understandable. Maybe you had hoped to boost your GPA this quarter, or you’re worried what graduate schools will think about an “S” in a class that would normally require a letter grade. If you’re concerned about the impact a S/NC will have on your motivation or academic standing, here are a few things to keep in mind: 

    • Remember you’re not alone. Many other universities have implemented similar policies, and leading medical, professional and other graduate schools have pledged their commitment not to penalize undergraduates for taking ungraded courses at this time. 

    • Know you’ll still get feedback on your work. Instructors will continue to track your progress and provide feedback on your assignments, so you’ll know whether you’re meeting the course goals. If you are concerned about your standing in a particular course, reach out to your instructor or TA directly.

    • Appreciate the learning process. Many students genuinely enjoy learning but get bogged down by the pressure to get an A. Not having letter grades can actually reduce stress and enhance your intrinsic motivation to learn. 

    • For answers to other grading-related questions you might have, see the Spring Quarter FAQs on the Teach Anywhere site, or read this article from Faculty Senate Chair Tim Stearns.

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