If you are like almost every on-campus students in the US classes for most of your academic career have been in person and the move to online learning might come as a shock. After all, you’re used to visiting a classroom and having real-time, in-person interactions with your instructor and fellow students and taking notes based on what’s written on a board or on a screen.
After speaking to most of the students involved in our ministry we heard over and over how hard the transition has been and because of the Covid – 19, you need to adjust quickly. We decided to provide 10 tips to help you with the transition.
1. Get up and get ready.
Resist the urge to stay in your pajamas – as comfortable as that may be. One of the most appealing aspects of online learning is the option of staying in bed in comfy clothes without needing to go to campus. Even though this seems like a perk, getting up and dressed can help you take your studies more seriously and accomplish more. Besides, your bed is meant for sleeping! Getting up and getting dressed will help to motivate you.
2. Treat an online course as a “real course”
Some people have a tendency to take online classes less seriously since there isn’t anyone to hold them accountable. Treat your virtual classroom like a real one. Keep a regular schedule to help stay motivated and set goals that will keep you on track with your work.
You get out what you put in, so staying dedicated to your learning even though you’re not in an actual classroom.
Other ways of staying motivated for the remainder of the semester include:
- Taking time for yourself
- Finding a support system from your school
- Taking things one day at a time
- Staying positive this is hard
- Find time to Exercise (Nike Training App premium is currently free)
- Asking for help
- Focusing on your future
3. Keep a clear line of communication
Instructions and assignments can get confusing when you aren’t meeting in person with a professor or connecting with fellow students to get the clarification you need. Establish a consistent way to contact teachers and classmates is important when taking classes remotely.
Some ways to do this include:
- Using an online learning platform like Canvas
- Getting phone numbers of fellow students, who you can call or text when you need help
- Starting a regular virtual study group with digital tools like Zoom, Google Hangout, GoToMeeting, etc.
- Setting up a Facebook Group or GroupMe and inviting classmates to join
4. Leverage school resources
Taking advantage of your school’s resources is a great way to deal with any rough spots you might hit in challenging courses.
- Assigned advisors
5. Have a consistent workspace
As a college student, your study space is your sanctuary and keeping it organized is one of the best ways to stay productive. Some tactics to avoid distractions and maintain a consistent workspace include:
- Putting away your phone (airplane mode)
- Color coding materials
- Keeping chargers in one place
- Cleaning up
You can also change your workspace from time to time to keep your mind fresh and ideas flowing. As long as you find a spot where you can focus – whether inside or outside – a little variety might help.
6. Participate in your online courses
Participating in class is a vital way to stay connected and make sure you understand the material. For online programs, you could comment on other students’ posts and assignments, peer edit projects and be involved in online discussions.
When you’re engaged in class discussions, it can help clarify concepts and introduce new ideas and also build your rapport with the instructor and fellow students.
7. Create a detailed weekly schedule and stick to it.
Online learning is most often less-structured than face-to-face learning, not having scheduled times for lectures, labs or tutorials. It’s easy to get carried away with this freedom of online study to the detriment of your studies. Make time each week to consider your weekly goals and create a detailed weekly study schedule. Online learning requires high degrees of self-management, self-discipline and good time management.
8. Find your motivation to succeed.
There are many worthwhile reasons to work hard in your classes. It may be to prepare for your ideal future career, achieve a high level of personal pride in accomplishments or to seek a wider range of opportunities (or possibly a higher income) that may be available with higher education. Keeping your goals in mind may be the inspiration you need to push through the hard times.
9. Treat your studies as you would a full-time job.
Expect to spend two to three hours study time for each hour spent in online lectures or reading course materials. Taking five classes this term translates into studying anywhere from 30 to 45 hours each week.
10. Have a cut-off time for your studies.
Online study can give access to course materials, assignments and resources 24 hours/day, seven days/week.This access provides much flexibility in scheduling study time. However, this virtually limitless access also makes it possible to study 24 hours a day! Schedule a cut-off time for studying each day where you close your laptop, set your books aside, and give your mind a chance to rejuvenate.