Learning Online - For Families

For Families Supporting Students

The Spring 2020 semester has been disrupted by unprecedented events but it does not have to feel impossible for students. With support from all of us, our students can get through this. 

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) has moved all services online (learning consultations, peer tutoring,  study groups, and test prep) and developed new services including Study Connect, ARC Study Breaks, and a Student Online Learning Guide.  The ARC, and the entire Duke community, are here to help students  successfully navigate this new mode of learning. As students transition to learning remotely, below are some ways you can provide support

Physical & Emotional Space

Learning remotely requires a physical environment with minimal distractions where students can participate in virtual classes, study, and complete assignments. Classes may happen synchronously (in real-time) and/or asynchronously (on your own time). It may be helpful to discuss how your household will prioritize and use shared resources such as quiet spaces, internet, etc.

Students are still figuring out how to navigate this new mode of learning and may need support. Remember they were living independently before this occurred, so only offer support if requested or if you notice students struggling.


This time is different from other times students were home for break; it is not a vacation but rather students are shifting where and how they are completing the semester.

Due to their flexible online class schedules, they may not be available for some family events like meals or game nights. You may need to be clear about their expected role in contributing to household chores.

Courses may require synchronous meetings in other time zones (course lectures, discussion sessions, group project meetings) as well lots of asynchronous work in addition to classes.

Some students will want to talk a lot about what has happened and some will not. Notice changes in their emotional well-being and offer support and guidance. Visit Duke’s Keep Learning website for additional resources and to stay up to date on the most current information about Duke’s response to COVID-19.

See the ARC Spring 2020 update page for more information about ARC services.

This document was adapted from the For Families: How to Support Students’ Remote Learning page developed by the Learning Strategies Center at Cornell University.