10 Tips For Taking Online Courses In College
After the recent declaration across most college campuses that in person courses will now be transitioned into online courses for the remaining portion of the semester, I have seen very mixed reactions.
Some students are glad to not have to be physically in class anymore. While other students are devastated.
If you have never taken online classes before, and are anxious about this transition, I want to start off by telling you that you are going to be okay. I have personally never taken 100% of my classes online. I will typically take one or two class online each semester just to ease up the heaviness of my schedule.
As you might be, I am a little worried too, but together, we will get through us. Each and every one of us.
I have put together a list of 10 tips for taking online classes in college that I have picked up along my journey of online classes to help you during this stressful time.
Feel free to leave any questions, advice, and concerns you may have in the comments!
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Are online courses different than regular courses?
Online courses are not that different than your typical in person classes. However, online courses do require a different approach.
To be able to succeed in your online courses, you MUST have proficient time management skills. You won’t have anyone to tell you what to do, when to do it, or how to do it. You have to be proactive and take it upon yourself to schedule and plan to make sure you are receiving the information that you need.
If you are a master procrastinator, not all hope is lost! With a few tweaks to your daily routine, you too will be able to succeed in your online classes.
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How to Manage Your Online Courses
Plan your day
Planning your days out and sticking to a schedule will not only help you to get more done, but to set your mind at ease. If I don’t plan my days out, I find it easy to find myself trickling down a spiral of procrastination.
Having a set schedule before your day begins allows you to better prepare mentally for the tasks that you need to complete.
*Be sure to read until the end for your very own schedule template!*
Separate classwork by days
If you find it hard to jump from one subject to the next, it could be helpful for you to designate a particular day of the week for a specific subject.
For example, if you are in 4 different classes, you can do your work for class A and B on Monday’s and Tuesday. Next, class C and D will get done on Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can then designate Friday to catch up any work that you might have not had time for during the week.
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Start your homework first thing in the morning
When you first wake up in the morning your brain will typically be more alert than it would be in the afternoon or evening. This the perfect time to knock out your class work for your online courses.
You will better be able to retain the information that you are receiving and will be less likely to procrastinate.
Now, you don’t have to start your homework as soon as you open your eyes (I actually advise against that). Give yourself 30 minutes to an hour to get up, get ready, fix breakfast, maybe do some light cleaning, and then get started on your work
Reach out to your professors
Taking online courses isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and due the forced circumstances that many of you have come upon (including me), you may find yourself more stressed about your classwork than usual.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors for additional guidance and assistance. They most likely will completely understand what you are going through because some of them might not be too thrilled about teach their courses online.
I know that a lot of colleges are utilizing zoom for online classes communication efforts and hosting live lectures. This program may make the situation feel a little more normal for you.
If your college isn’t utilizing zoom (mine isn’t), try reaching out to your professor directly to set up a phone call or Skype chat for the time being.
Take mini breaks
It is more than okay to take breaks in between your daily tasks in order to give yourself and your mind a break. I like to call them brain boosters. Use this time to grab a snack, rest your eyes, or reply some missed messages.
I recommend that you try to avoid getting on social media. I know first hand how hard it is to get off the train of endless scrolling. This can easily get you off track and prevent you from sticking to your schedule.
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Complete each task fully
It is better to attempt to fully complete your task during the previously allotted time block for the day. Half doing your work will make it harder to get back into the swing of things if it is put off.
Trust me, your future self will seriously be so grateful that you just went ahead and knocked the assignment out of the way instead of putting it off until later.
Use your free time wisely
Now that you are out of school, you will most likely have more time to yourself than usual; even if you are working a part time job as well.
It is vital to your success in your online courses that you make use of the newly given time effectively. You can do this by planning out your days and setting a classwork schedule to help you stay on track.
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Communicate with your classmates
Don’t be afraid to connect with your friends in class. You can even reach out to people that you don’t personally know that are in the class if you need help completing assignments.
Sometimes it helps to have support from people around that are also going through the same thing. You have to remember that you are not alone in this!
Set your phone across the room
When my phone is right next to me while I am working, I am always so tempted to check my notifications and to see what’s going on on social media.
To avoid the distraction that your phone might bring, set it across the room. You can even in another room until you get ready for your mini breaks/ brain boosters.
Have a designated work space
Typically your brain will register certain areas that you are in for certain activities. For example, your brain considers your bedroom a place for relaxing, a kitchen a place for cooking or gathering, and desk or office space a place for working.
When you disrupt these mental associations, it can lead to unproductiveness. If you don’t have another area in your house that you feel comfortable working in, using a desk in your room will work as well!
How do you feel about your online courses?
Online courses are the best thing ever for some people, and the worst thing in the world for others. How are you feeling about this change?
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Taylor Hansen says
I like how you mentioned asking questions for the professor and meeting with them on Zoom. Since the pandemic shut down my college, I now have to take online classes instead of going to class this fall. I’ll be sure to keep these tips in mind so I can succeed in my classes even though I won’t have that face-to-face experience.
I’m so glad it helped Taylor! Good luck this year!
Ellie | Sincerely Students says
Great tips! Online school is such a foreign idea for many students, I’m sure your tips will be super helpful for them!