Many schools across the country have transitioned to online courses in response to COVID-19, and for some of you, this will be your first time with virtual learning. While I was in college, I had to take several online classes, and let me tell you I was nervous to take them as I need all the elements of a classroom including the desk, my classmates, and most importantly the professor. But, online classes don’t have to be intimidating – it just requires a different mindset to help shift your focus. I’ve created six strategies students can use to survive online classes.
Create a schedule and stick to it
One of the biggest mistakes I made with online courses was not sticking to a schedule. While you’re in high school or on campus, it’s easier to spread our your work. I recommend setting up a daily schedule and writing down everything in your planner from reading assignments, exams, etc. It will help you manage your time effectively and create a good habit of checking your planner.
Find a good workspace
A key to success for online classes is to find a space that allows you to focus on getting your work done. The perfect spot should offer few distractions, and make sure everything is within arm’s reach like snacks, water, notebooks, pens, etc. Of course, I know that everyone’s house as the capability of becoming hectic, so it might be hard to find a good space. For me, headphones work the best to cancel noise out and worked like a charm.
Set daily goals for studying
Set aside an hour a day for your online class. If you don’t have that much time to spare during the week, try 15 minutes four or five times a day. Also, focus on course reading and discussion posts first thing in the morning so they’re not forgotten. I was juggling so many other things for volleyball and social events I had to use my time management skills and create a schedule that worked for me. I would use my Sunday nights to get myself ready for the week. I made sure I knew which chapters I’d read and analyzed for my discussion post. I read the questions my professor wanted the class to answer and reviewed my schedule.
Avoid distractions…yes, that includes your phone
I know how tempting it can be to text your friends, check your social media accounts, and get yourself caught up in a rabbit hole on Reddit, but these things are time sucks and will cause problems in the long run for your online courses. One tip is to have only tabs that are relevant to what you’re working on at that moment because it keeps you focused on your work and helps you pay more attention to the lectures and coursework. And, of course, I would keep your phone out of arms reach or turn off your notifications.
The best thing you can do after reading a chapter, sitting through a lecture, or taking an exam is to take a break. Also, if you find yourself struggling with a problem or assignment and there hasn’t been any progress, go for a walk, talk to a friend, or find something that will help re-energize you.
Ask for help
My last piece of advice – if you’re struggling and falling behind – ask for help. Your classmates and professor will help you succeed. Also, many colleges have tutoring and writing labs on campus that can help work through and perfect your assignments and essays. It is not every man or woman for themselves, but the first step requires you to ask.