Although online learning is nothing new, online classes are going to be much more prevalent in the upcoming months (and possibly years) as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). And whether you excel already online or are still learning the ropes, there’s no denying that at points online learning can be difficult.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you succeed while studying online.
Create a Schedule that Works for You:
There may be times when you have to be online (hello scheduled Zoom calls) but it’s important to create a schedule that works for you during the times you don’t have to be. Some people study better in shorter intervals (25 minutes on and five minutes off) while others do better in longer intervals (one hour on 15 minutes off). Some work better in the morning while others are more productive at night. Find what works for you.
Online learning allows you to pick up your books at a time that will best suit your lifestyle.
Have a Designated Work Area:
By no means does your study space have to be as uncomfortable as a classroom desk, however, you should have a designated work area where you know you can focus. It can be incredibly tempting to wake up and work away in bed (it’s comfortable and you don’t have to put ‘real’ clothes on!) but this can diminish your productivity. Not only is it easier to get distracted, and potentially fall asleep, but studying in bed can make it hard for you to differentiate your school life and your personal life. By having a designated work area you will limit distractions and create a nice work-life balance.
Don’t Forget to Take Notes:
This may seem impossible (how could one forget to take notes?) but it’s actually easier than you think. Online learning requires you to be self-disciplined in a lot of different ways. There isn’t a professor right in front of you eyeing you anymore reminding you to jot down what is being said - it’s all up to you.
It can also be easy to think ‘everything is online, I don’t need to take notes’ but when it comes time to study for the final exam or do the final assignment you’re not going to want to sift through a whole semester's worth of content looking for what you need.
Get to Know Your Professors:
Professors are there to help you regardless of online learning or in-person learning. When it comes to online learning though it can be easy to forget that there is still a professor there.
Professors are there to help you when you need it and they are also a great connection to have. Not only can professors answer questions for you, but they can also introduce you to people to help you break into the workforce or recommend you for jobs. However, professors are less likely to do this if you don’t have a good relationship with them.
Here are a few tips for building a good student-professor relationship:
Participate (see below!)
Attend (virtual) office hours if available
Follow up after class (with connections you made, questions you have, or some of your thoughts from the lesson)
Provide feedback if they ask for it (online learning may be new for your professor too so share your thoughts if they ask for feedback on how they’re doing or how they can improve)
According to a recent Forbes article, “You can only get out of online learning what you put into it,” and one of the best ways to get all you can out of online learning is to participate. So post on discussion boards, speak up in Zoom lectures, and ask questions.
Transitioning to online learning can be hard, especially if it’s a new concept for you. Remember to take one day at a time, and that along with the course(s) you’re taking online learning is a learning process in itself as well.
Check out our previous blog post: What Mohawk College Students Need to Know About Renting
Written by: Paige Petrovsky