Success in online courses requires a shift in focus. Luckily, the tips, strategies, and skills you use for your regular, in-person classes can be applied to your online learning experience. Here are some general tips for succeeding in an online class.
Treat this as a REAL course
Set regular "meeting" times, regardless of if the class is synchronous or asynchronous. "Attend" class during those times- don't skip!
Complete all of your assigned work on time.
Participate in class discussions.
Ask questions if you are confused or have not worked with a particular online tool.
Keep in contact with your professor and let them know about any issues. Do not wait until the last minute to reach out.
Keep Your Motivation In Check
Find an accountability partner
Take frequent breaks- our brains are not wired to extended periods of sustained attention. Breaks help us stay fresh and better able to focus.
Remind yourself of the WHY- we sometimes forget WHY we are doing this. Taking a moment to remember this can help reenergize you.
Stay healthy- take care of yourself
Just get started- we can make ourselves believe that an activity is going to be awful and will avoid it. The act of getting started is often the hardest part.
Use the 5-minute rule- set a timer for 5 minutes and get started on the work. Chances are, by the end of the 5 minutes, you will be engaged and won't need to stop.
This resource from the UNC System provides more information about success in the online classroom, especially if you are new to online classes!
When taking an online class, it is important that you create and maintain a study space that will keep you focused. Find out the best ways you can set the stage for your study space!
Make sure your study location
- is well-lit,
- has a cool (not cold) temperature,
- is clean, and
- has all of your study materials ready and organized
Pick the times of day when you are most productive
Study as much as possible during these times.
Eliminate digital and social media distractions
Here are some helpful apps for your phone and computer:
- Forest: Curb your phone attachment by planting a seed in Forest and watching it grow. If you relapse, you'll destroy the tree! Forest - Stay focused, be present
- SelfControl: restricts access to selected websites for preset times (Mac) SelfControl app
- StayFocusd : restricts access to selected websites for preset times (Chrome) StayFocusd
- Cold Turkey: restricts access to selected apps, websites for preset times (Mac, PC) Cold Turkey - The Toughest Website Blocker on the Internet
Just like you practice good etiquette with your peers and professors with in-person classes, you need to practice good "netiquette" in your online classes. Remember these online classmates and professors are still humans. Though there is the feeling of anonymity in the online environment, remembering that a human being is on the other side of any message you send can help promote more positive interactions, benefitting everyone in the online environment.
It can be easy to push your online classes to the side and focus on other things. Some students feel like an online class isn't "real" so they delay doing the work. The key to managing your time in an online class is to treat it like any other class! You can apply the same time management strategies across your in-person and online classes!
Refer to the Time Management resources and strategies for your online classes
- Be assertive in protecting your study time: Tell friends and family that you will be available when you are done.
- If your schedule permits, work on your studies earlier in the day: Most students are more productive earlier in the day, and this arrangement can help you avoid procrastination.
- Struggling with staying on task? Need assistance with making a plan? Meet virtually with a peer academic coach!
Continue your Efficient Reading Strategies for your online classes
- Use technology tools to help: Highlighting and Commenting tools in Google Docs, OneNote, etc.
- To prevent distractions, use available apps to help
- When needed, print online readings and highlight, take notes and annotate as usual: Use this only for those readings that are MOST important.
What if I don't understand something? ASK QUESTIONS! Don't let the online platform of the class prevent you from seeking the help you need to succeed. Contacting your professor and classmates is an easy and essential first step to communicating your concerns and getting the help you need. Consider these other helpful tips and resources:
Use online resources
Sometimes difficult material can make more sense when presented in a different way. You can often find the same concept explained in different ways that will make sense to you. Look up the material on Youtube, CrashCourse, Khan Academy, or any other online resource for a new perspective!
Use campus resources:
- Seek online tutoring through University Tutoring Services
- Meet virtually with a learning consultant
- Meet with a peer academic coach
- Sign up for a virtual writing consultation through the Writing Center on TutorTrac
Not sure about how to do something in AsULearn?
Check out the AsULearn Student Support page for answers to most questions. Much of the content on AsULearn can be downloaded for use offline. This can be helpful in situations where consistent connectivity is an issue.
For additional support, 828-262-6266, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by entering a support request.