As the COVID pandemic continues to go on outside our doors, online learning has begun to feel like the norm for students all over the world. Rather than meeting face-to-face, applications like zoom and google meet has replaced human interaction. Although we are all used to it, these technological replacements also come with its set of challenges to conquer. Nevertheless, it does not mean that we can’t succeed in online learning.
Here are some things you can do to succeed in online learning:
Form a Virtual Study Group
One of the downsides of online learning is that you can’t meet your classmates, which can be crucial to many as your friends can be the sources of learning. There are many things you can do, including post and ask if any classmates want to study together on video conferencing on an online discussion forum (if there is one). Once you’ve found some study partners, try to meet with them at the same time(s) each week. This way, you’ll get the learning benefits of studying in a group and have someone to hold you accountable.
Have a Dedicated Study Space
If your class were meeting in real life, you’d be in a classroom or lecture hall. While you don’t need to recreate that environment at home, having a dedicated study space will help you stay focused when it’s time to study and disconnect when it isn’t. It is also important to avoid somewhere that’s too comfortable or distracting. Instead, find a place that signals “it’s time to work.” Once you complete your work there repeatedly, you’ll begin to establish a routine. Whether your workspace is your kitchen table, a library, or the corner booth in a local coffee shop, it’s important to determine what type of environment boosts your productivity. When setting up your study space, make sure you:
Have a high-speed internet connection
Have the required books, materials, and software for the course
Have headphones for listening to lectures or discussions (especially important in shared spaces)
Get Help If You’re Falling Behind
The same case happens with your lecturers, as they won’t be as freely available as offline meetings. Therefore, it can be harder to ask your professor for help. You’ll need to take more initiative if you aren’t understanding the material or you’re falling behind on assignments. The longer you wait to get help, the further behind you’ll fall and the more likely you are to perform poorly on exams.
Participate in the course’s online forum to help you better understand course materials and engage with fellow classmates. Some of the things you can do involves commenting on a classmate’s paper on a discussion board or posting a question about a project you’re working on. Read what other students and your professor are saying, and if you have a question, ask for clarification.
Make sure you are checking in as often as you can, too. Online learning offers flexibility, which means if you have 30 minutes before dinner plans, you could squeeze in a discussion response around your schedule. Set a goal to check in on the class discussion threads every day.
Get good at time management
Time management has become one of the most important factors in the online learning success. You are on your own, with no friends sitting around you in a lecture hall, listening to a professor, with scheduled lectures to attend. This means you need to manage your time well. Part of managing your time is knowing how much to devote to your studies and how long you need to work on assignments.
Manage your time wisely, and you will be able to manage time for other important things in your life, like family, friends, work, and so on. Keeping a balance between school and the rest of your life is really important and will prevent the feeling of being burnt out.
Staying organized is going to keep you on track. There are many ways to get yourself organized. On your computer, for example, you can create a folder for each course and assignment. You can use a calendar, either on paper or on your device, with all your due dates and reminders. The great thing about electronic calendars is that you can set reminders for yourself. It’s like having your own personal assistant. Think about what you prefer — colorful Post-it notes or daily reminders on your phone. Or both! Either way, it’s going to help you succeed.
Think of it this way: keeping your external world tidy transfers to your internal world — and vice versa. Getting into the habit of keeping your space and your things organized is likely going to help you think in a more organized way. Try it and see!
Use all your resources
Every college has student resources, including online universities. Check out your college’s student resources webpage and see what services they offer. Take advantage of these services, as there are some universities with student support advisor for each student plus mentors to help guide them throughout their studies.
There are also service emails and phone numbers to contact if you face technical problems. A good idea would be to keep all the emails handy and accessible so you know where to look when you need help.
What do you think of these tips? Do you have other tips for other students? Tell us in the comments section below!