Tips For Success in Online Classes
Set yourself up for success in online classes by following these helpful tips.
Watch the Tips for Success in Online Courses video (7 minutes)
Set Up A Productive Work Space
Not everyone has a home office that they can easily convert into a study space. However, there are some steps you can take to set up your space for success:
- Get out of bed! One of the best things you can do is not work in your bedroom. Your bedroom and your bed are associated with sleep and relaxation and we want to keep it that way if possible. Moving to a different room can signal your brain that the work has begun.
- Find a comfortable space. This can be a living room, your back porch, the dining room, etc. What’s important is that you have a comfortable place to sit up straight with your laptop and materials.
- Minimize distractions. Turn off the TV, try not to multitask, avoid social media, and if needed, work around the schedules of people/family you live with. Noise canceling headphones can also be a LIFESAVER!
Whether your class is synchronous or asynchronous, consistency is important. Schedule time for classwork on a recurring basis: work at the same time, for the same amount of time, on the days you are doing classwork. This develops a routine and tricks your brain into work mode. Obviously there is flexibility, but this schedule can help evenly distribute work load and help to hold yourself accountable. Set a pace that you can maintain so that you can avoid burnout and give ample time for assignments, questions and hiccups along the way! Likewise, it is important to plan ahead. Utilize your course resources and syllabus to break down your workload. For assistance, see our tips for “Managing Your Time & Schedule” on the Student Success Center’s Tips and Strategies for Student Success webpage.
Be an Active Participant
Participation grades are key to in-person class outcomes and the same goes for online or remote learning. Depending on your course, this can take a few different forms. If your class is meeting in a video format, try to have your camera on (if available), speak in the chat, and ask questions. If your class doesn’t include video interaction, regular correspondence with your professor, participation in discussion boards, and classmate outreach will make things feel less isolating and can be more encouraging. Just because we aren’t in the same space, does not mean we aren’t in this together, so let’s treat it that way.
Electronic Communication Skills
Now more than ever, email communication is extremely important. Learning how to get your message across in a cohesive and professional manner can prove to be fruitful. Write an email like you would a letter. Start with an introduction, then use full and clear sentences in the body of your message then finish with a closing. Similarly, when participating on discussion boards, use formal writing to state your answers. Avoid using sarcasm and emoji’s, and tie your ideas in with the ideas presented by your classmates. While in video class sessions, mute your microphone and use the raise hand feature or chat when you want to speak.
Screen time can be exhausting! Too much time spent in front of your computer will decrease your focus and your productivity. You’ll retain less, be less engaged, and lose enthusiasm for the course. Short and planned breaks can solve a lot of this. Take a quick walk, hydrate, or grab a snack. Make sure you stretch to keep blood flow going. Breaks should not be used for more screen time. This isn’t a time to switch over to social media or spend 20-30 minutes on your phone. This is a break for your eyes and mind!
Self-care is extremely important whether you’re in a classroom or at home on your couch. It’s important to recharge and unwind in a healthy manner so that you can give your full effort to the work you need to complete. There are several aspects of self-care that should be taken into consideration: Physical, Psychological, Emotional, Spiritual, Personal, and Professional. Each type holds different value to each individual. Self-care should be wellness-focused and be part of a routine. Things such as playing sports, eating healthy foods, journaling, going to therapy, spending time in nature, and picking up new hobbies can all be considered self-care. Along with this it’s also important to occasionally take that extra step and reward yourself for the hard work you’ve put into your classes! Did you get an A on a paper? Go have your favorite meal or treat yourself to a movie!
Take Advantage of Campus Resources
While you may not be on campus often, if at all, we are still here and ready to support you! Offices are dedicated to assist all students regardless of whether courses are remote or in person. Academic and social resources include your professors, and many more. Open communication with these resources as well as an understanding of what you might need are key. Whether it be tutoring services, figuring out your course load for the next semester, or speaking to financial aid, knowing what your resources are and where to find them is extremely important. Please visit this Student Resources page for some handy resources here on our campus.
Be persistent! This is one of the most important things you can do, as you will likely run into challenges. You might hit a roadblock or two, and that’s okay. Things might take more time when asking for help, but it will be worth it. When you hit an obstacle, keep trying and never be afraid to ask for help. Online classes can be isolating, but you’re not in it alone! One tip to help with persistence is to make challenges for yourself to make work more fun or at least more enjoyable. You can do this by setting up systems for rewards, buddying up with classmates to tackle assignments, play some music, or make a game out of it. When you can, write on topics that you find genuinely interesting. Academics are serious, but they are only one part of your day-to-day life, so cut yourself some slack! Get the help you need, keep at it, and keep all of these tips in mind to give yourself a boost.
Pappas, C. (2020, April 22). Getting The Most Out Of Your eLearning Course: 10 Study Tips For Online Learners. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/10-study-tips-for-online-learners-getting-the-most-out-of-your-elearning-course
Phoenix, O. (2020, November 24). Self-Care Wheel. Retrieved from https://olgaphoenix.com/self-care-wheel/
Writing Team. (2020, November 10). 21 Study Tips for Online Classes Success. Retrieved from https://goodcolleges.online/study-tips-for-success/
Xia, L. (2020, March 30). 8 Tips for Effective Online Learning. Retrieved from https://blog.coursera.org/8-tips-for-effective-online-learning/
Quick Tips and Tricks
- Get enough sleep
- Get some exercise
- Connect with your classmates/leverage your network
- Treat class like an in-person experience
- Communicate with your professor – utilize office hours, even virtually!
- Limit social media
- Set goals for yourself: For help, see our Goal Setting workshop.