There are numerous advantages to online classes. They provide more flexibility and let you study from virtually anywhere. However, they also come with their own set of challenges.
Some students approach online classes thinking they will be easier than in-person courses. The remote structure might make classes more convenient, but it doesn’t make them any easier. They require the same level of commitment and effort. From navigating distractions to staying motivated, check out these seven basic tips for getting the most out of online learning.
Stick to Your Routine
It can feel odd to set an alarm when you’re not leaving the house. However, if you don’t have a plan for tackling the day, it’s easy to waste time and end up scrambling at the last minute to complete assignments.
In order to be your most productive, it’s a good idea to have a rough schedule to guide you through the day. Know what is on your plate – both inside and outside of school – and make a plan for tackling each task. Find the schedule that works for you and try to stick to it daily, creating a routine that helps you stay at your most productive.
Create a Clutter-Free Learning Space
When you’re spending most of your time indoors, clutter can accumulate easily. Try your best to keep your study area free of distractions. Additionally, make sure everything you need for your classes, from your computer charger to your notebooks, is easily accessible. The fewer times you need to stand up searching for materials the better.
Invest in Ergonomics
If you foresee spending a lot of time in the future in front of a computer screen, ergonomic furniture can be a great investment. You can also make your existing setup more ergonomic with a few simple changes, such as using a cushion for lumbar support or placing your laptop on a stack of books if your screen is too low. Get some tips to maximize your learning space at home and avoid those annoying aches and pains.
Treat Classes Like In-Person Classes
During an in-person class, you wouldn’t play a movie in the background, paint your nails, make a sandwich or play a round of fetch with your dog – so don’t do it during an online class either. Set time aside that is specifically dedicated to attending live discussions, watching class videos and completing assignments.
Online classes give you the flexibility to choose when you work, but you still need to allocate enough time and focus to do well. An important part of this is eliminating distractions during study hours.
Find a Way to Hold Yourself Accountable
For some people, a planner is essential for staying on track. Others depend on checklists or sticky notes. No matter what works for you, find a way to hold yourself accountable. This means both creating a study plan and sticking to it.
If accountability is something you’ve struggled with, consider partnering with a classmate. Text and remind each other of assignments and push one another to start studying ahead of time.
When creating a study plan for yourself or with a friend, keep the following questions in mind:
- What assignments are due this week? How much time will you need to complete them?
- Are there any major projects coming up? When should you start working on them?
- Are there any exams coming up? When should you start studying?
Be an Active Participant
Depending on the structure of your online class, this might mean speaking up during live discussions, reaching out to instructors or contributing to a forum.
You want to show your classmates and professors that you are making an effort. More importantly, you want to forge avenues of communication so that you have ways to reach out when you have questions or are struggling with a particular topic. If you need help, talk to your instructor or classmates. Don’t wait until the day before an assignment or exam to ask questions or report technical issues.
Keep Your Goals in Sight
School can be a challenge. Add the stress of adjusting to online classes and many students can start losing their motivation. If you’re feeling drained, refocus your efforts by reminding yourself why you started your journey.
Consider listening to a podcast that inspires you, such as one of these top 5 medical podcasts for healthcare professionals, or read about inspiring individuals in your field. Another great way to keep your motivation high is to reach out to classmates. Knowing that you’re all in it together, working towards similar goals can be a great way to form strong bonds.
WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.