Academic Planning

Education may have changed, but our commitment to students has not

As the pandemic unfolds, Ohio State remains committed to providing a high-quality student experience and a world-class education. We take very seriously our responsibility to foster safe and healthy learning and living environments.

We know that the university will rely on an increase in virtual learning technologies and opportunities. There are more fully online courses and increased hybrid courses to ensure that in-person learning experiences can maintain recommended physical distancing. Please check your class schedule in your My Buckeye Link for updates.

Even though they may be busy, advisors are still available for remote appointments and will continue to provide you with individualized advice based on your interests and goals. However, responsind to student emails, assisting with schedule change requests, and teaching survey courses may mean that it takes advisors longer (3-4 business days instead of the usual 1-2) to respond to your request. We appreciate your patience.

Please check your Ohio State email regularly for important updates from the university and your advising unit.

The transition to online learning in spring was sudden and unexpected. For autumn, universities have had time to plan. Over the summer, Ohio State had time to make sure that online courses meet clear minimum expectations. Details about relevant assurance processes for autumn courses are available at the links below.

Throughout the health crisis, the university will monitor the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty. If new decisions are made, it will be a several days before departments, advisors, Buckeye Link, and other university offices know how you will be affected.

Please be patient. While waiting to follow up with university offices you'll get more accurate information, you may receive communications that answer your questions. If you do reach out to a university office, please understand that the information you receive may be change based on future university decisions.

We want you to feel safe. If the courses you need to take have online sections available, you can choose to create a schedule of only online courses. If you are not a new student, you can change your schedule in your My Buckeye Link account until the end of the first week of classes. New students will need to request an advisor to change their schedules.

To find online courses in the schedule of classes, click the green arrow beside "Additional Search Criteria" and then select Distance Learning from the "Mode of Instruction" drop down menu. If the course listed as online but also has a date/time listed, that course will expect enrolled students to meet online on specified days and times (a "synchronous online" course). Remember that enrollment all in Distance Learning courses may impact tuition and fees.

International students should contact the Office of International Affairs with questions.

In the Schedule of Classes, there is a field called "Mode of Instruction". These terms describe different forms of information delivery. In a distance course, instruction is delivered remotely (most often via the internet). The list of modes of instruction, their abbreviations, and a description of each is below.

  • In Person (P): 0-24% of class activities will be completed by students at a distance. This is an in-person learning option for international students.
  • Hybrid Delivery (HY): 25-74% of class activities will be completed by students at a distance. Hybrid courses can count for in-person learning options for international students.
  • Distance Enhanced (DH): 75-99% of class activities will be completed by students at a distance. This is not an in-person learning option for international students.
  • Distance Learning (DL): 100% of class activities will be completed by students at a distance. This is not an in-person learning option for international students.

It is possible that a course has both a Distance Learning lecture section and an In Person lab or recitation section.

Remember that enrollment exclusively in Distance Learning courses may impact tuition and fees, and may impact F1/J1 visa status.

If the course is listed as online in the Schedule of Classes but does have a date/time listed, that course will expect students to meet together online on specific days and times (a "synchronous online" course).

Course formats will vary, and advisors may not know exactly how each is structured. Options may include:

  • In-person courses may be reduced in size or moved to larger classrooms to meet distancing guidelines. Students may be moved to different sections to accommodate reduced class sizes; please re-check your class schedule in early August.
  • Hybrid courses may have an online lecture with an in-person lab. A lecture could be split in half with alternating attendance in-person Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday and attending online on the other days. Hybrid courses may also be divided in other ways not described here.
  • Some online courses may require you to attend a class discussion or video lecture at a set time while others may be completely asynchronous, allowing you to watch lectures and read notes on your own based on assignment due dates and your own schedule.
    • If the course is listed as online in the Schedule of Classes but does have a date/time listed, that course will expect students to meet together online on specified days and times (a "synchronous online" course).
  • Courses may have additional information available in a software or websites provided by the textbook author/company.
  • Some courses may require you to meet virtually with group members to work on projects, or to contribute to discussion boards to provide your reactions to the course material.

All courses should have a syllabus that clearly outlines expectations for participation in the course as well as for assignment due dates. Be sure to read that carefully. Even in-person courses will probably rely heavily on online learning so that students who can't attend are still able to access the material.

Please try to remain open-minded about different learning experiences, and ask questions when expectations are not clear.

Every credit hour a student enrolls in whether in-person, hybrid, or online requires an average of 3 hours of class-participation and homework/study per week (a 3 credit hour course would require 9 hours of attendance and work per week to earn an average grade).

Hybrid or online learning may require students to use additional online resources. Students can still connect with classmates to share notes or study. As always, students should contact the instructor with questions early to ensure that there is enough time to receive a response.

Online learning provides opportunities to use additional strategies for learning. For example:

  • If you learn best by reading, download your instructors notes/PowerPoint in addition to attending the lecture
  • If you learn best by listening, watching a lecture multiple times might be really helpful
  • If you prefer to use visual aids to learn, you could practice in Notability and watch how-to videos over the summer so that they're prepared to sketch infographics to remember important details
  • If you retain information better after hands-on learning you could download an app or game to help apply the concepts that you're learning in class

Instructors and advisors are good sources for coming up with creative ideas, and so is the Dennis Learning Center.

Although it is intended for students who want to complete entirely online programs, the Online Student Readiness Assessment will give you some good points to think about related to learning through technology, including areas of strength and opportunities for growth. It has helpful tips and videos, and once completed, you will receive a summary of Ohio State resources.

Take some time to answer the following questions to determine what types of courses might suit you best. Knowing what kinds of courses you want to enroll in (and why) will help your discussions with your advisor to be more productive.

Am I proactive or a procrastinator?

If you tend to put things off until the last minute, you want to seek out courses that are likely to have regular meeting times.

How did I like online learning in spring?

If you don't prefer online courses, you may want to enroll in subjects that you are excited to learn about to stay motivated for the semester since we expect the university to use technology heavily in autumn. If you are taking a course that you don't feel comfortable taking online, consider whether you can take that course in another term - especially if it is the first course in a sequence.

What helps me learn?

If you like to ask questions, work through example problems, or participate in discussion, you may want to seek out courses with recitations listed (recitations break large lectures into smaller groups of students for answering questions, reviewing assignments, and course discussion).

If you learn by doing, look for lab courses or studios.

If you want to apply what you're learning in class to real-world settings right away, look for service-learning courses.

What kind of a course can I commit to this term?

There are several things to consider with your autumn schedule. If you are parenting or have other home obligations, consider an asynchronous online course that allows you to participate when you are available. If the course does not have a room listed in the Schedule of Classes but does have a date/time listed, that is a course will expect enrolled students to meet online on specified days and times (a "synchronous online" course).

If you are concerned about exposure to the virus and online options are available, online courses may allow you to feel more comfortable.

To find online courses in the Class Search, click the green arrow beside "Additional Search Criteria" and then select Distance Learning from the "Mode of Instruction" drop down menu.

Students use a blend of old-school and tech-savvy ways to stay organized in class. Talk to friends and family about how they stay organized. Consider methods for keeping yourself organized:

  • Post a calendar or keep a personal planner of assignments and readings, project or paper due dates, quizzes, tests, and exams
  • Use iCal or Outlook to track important dates in the term, class meetings, and course-specific information
  • Use to-do lists or project management apps that let you create due dates for tasks, combine tasks into projects with specific steps, and/or assign tasks to others (Microsoft 365 offers "Planner", or Todoist is a free app)

If you don't already have a favorite method for keeping yourself organized, try a few solutions to see what works for you. Be flexible; if your new approach isn't working after a couple weeks, try something different!

If you are planning to access OSU courses from another country, take time to find the answers to these questions:

  • Will you be able to access the course material?
  • Is your data private?
    • Try to find out how secure your online connection is before you send personal information over the internet.
  • How reliable is your internet access?
    • Sign on to use the internet on the dates/times that your classes will be meeting. This will help you undersand how well your internet functions specifically during the times you will be need it. You may also want to do an internet speed test to find out if you will be able to stream videos if your class requires it.
  • Does online learning carry additional fees?
    • You may want to contact your ministry of education to find out if taking courses from another country will cost you more taxes or fees.
  • Has your education ministry changed their rules, and how long will changes be effective?
    • When countries began shutting down to control the spread of the virus, many rules and laws changed to allow students to have the flexibility to learn online. It is imoportant to understand what the rules usually are, what the new exceptions are, and when the old rules will go back into effect.

We have published a practice Carmen shell for students who want to try an online Carmen experience prior to autumn. It includes resources for academic success in online learning and some of the newest resources.

Advisors will usually encourage you to register for courses that are during times when you are alert and feel productive. Sharing your learning space can make this difficult, so think about when you'll be able to get quiet time and access to necessary spaces or technology. This may mean negotiating quiet hours or taking a course at a time that isn't your first choice.

You've heard this before: study in a quiet place with few distractions. When you're doing classwork, you'll want to be in a part of your living space that is private, quiet, and different from your "relaxing" space. Try not to do your coursework in bed or on your couch if you have other options.

This may mean having conversations with your family or roommates about when you'll need to have access to internet, technology/tools, etc. During that time, you will likely also need them to be quiet and avoid interrupting you if possible. It may help to post your schedule on your door, the family calendar, or fridge.

If your home situation prevents you from participating in the course as expected, please contact your instructor to discuss whether any options are available; if there are not, please speak to your advisor about whether a change of schedule is appropriate.

Ohio State offers many services to help you be productive and learn, but these won't be helpful if you don't know how to use them or if you don't feel comfortable with your learning device. Spend time practicing witht hem before courses start.

Whether you are new to the university or continuing from a previous semester, knowing how to get the information you need when you need it is always an important part of academic success. The libraries offer many resources. "Get started with University Libraries: First Steps for First Year Students" is a page that will help any student learn about the ones that will be most useful.

In addition to a learning device such as a laptop or tablet, you will also need to be familiar with Ohio State's cybersecurity and learning softwares.

For a very limited number of students, support may be available in emergency situations.

We strongly recommended you reach out to your instructors with your concerns; they may be able to provide course materials in other formats that don't depend on strong internet signal (for example, PowerPoint slides or notes pages instead of video lectures).

The university offers osuwireless and eduroam Wi-Fi on all campuses. Free Wi-Fi is also often available at public libraries or restaurants. You may be able to use this Wi-Fi from a parking lot, shared outdoor space, or indoors (following safety precautions).

If you can afford one, consider buying a Mi-Fi device that will let you use your cell-phone's data plan to access the internet. This could use data quickly and result in extra charges on your bill, so only do this when other options have been exhausted or if you can afford the extra expense. If you do this, please monitor your data usage very carefully.

Digital Flagship students on all campuses can find support options here:

For help with OSU specific issues or questions, like connecting to osuwireless, BuckeyeMail, Canvas, Ohio State apps, and similar - call the IT Service Desk (from any campus) at 614-688-4357.

For possible hardware/technical issues, possible device failure, or general Apple OS & Apple-branded app questions, students can call AppleCare+ support at 1-800-800-2775 Option 3 or visit

First, don't panic. Remember: you are intelligent and capable. Then, start by trying to fix the issue yourself. If you can, contact classmates about whether they can access it, and how. You can also see if there is a software website with FAQs, a chat line for troubleshooting, or a technical support phone number or email. Sometimes people have posted solutions on YouTube or other sites.

If you are still struggling, contact your instructor. Let them know what you have already tried on your own and ask about how this may impact upcoming due dates.

If your instructor is not able to help you, or if you don't hear back from your instructor within a couple days, reach out to your academic advisor. They can discuss whether a change of schedule is possible or can help you find someone else in your instructor's department may be able to help.