Tips to succeed in your online classes
How can you succeed with your online classes?
Are you starting or continuing your studies with an Australian university remotely? Maybe it’s going surprisingly well for you. Or, maybe it’s a little more difficult than you first thought. Either way, we have some tips to help you succeed in online learning.
1. Treat it like a real course
This one’s a no-brainer. When it comes to online classes, you need to have discipline. It’s easy to have great intentions—especially at the beginning, but you’ve got to have follow-through. Online courses offer some flexibility, but one of the best ways to make sure you stay on track is to remember that you’re paying for this class, and it’s your responsibility to get the most out of it. Show up for each class, just like you would in person. Thinking of it like a job is also helpful.
2. A schedule is your friend
A job, you say? Most jobs have schedules, right? Online learning often comes with the freedom of not having to attend lectures, tutorials, and labs at a set time. But you know what they say, with great freedom comes great responsibility.
Be sure to set up a daily routine that works for you. If you absorb information easily first thing in the morning, book some time after your breakfast to review your notes. Or if you’re more of a night owl, schedule time in the evening to work on assignments. Don’t forget to also schedule in time for breaks—they’re equally as important to keep you productive.
Once you find what schedule is best for you, you may want to use online or physical calendars, to-do lists, and notebooks to plot out your goals and keep you on track!
3. Create your study space
When you’re working from home it can be tempting to work in bed, but that may not be the best way to learn, and it certainly won’t help you switch your brain off and sleep at the end of the day either. Instead, set up a dedicated study space. This will help your brain recognize when it’s time to work, and it will keep your housemates or family from bothering you when you’re studying.
It’s not just the area of the house you work in though. Get a comfortable chair, a desk large enough to spread out your work, stationery and books, and a decent internet connection. If you’re going to spend countless hours here each day, make sure it’s cozy and ergonomic!
4. Eliminate distractions
Oh, how easy it is to just peek at your phone a couple of times! We actually look at our phones more than we think. A lot more. Of course, today’s world is filled with many distractions that can easily derail your studies. Try turning your phone off, putting it in another room, or scheduling “break times” so you don’t reward yourself for one hour of studying with four hours of YouTube. Make sure you have everything you need nearby so you don’t have to get up every 10 minutes.
5. Stay in touch with your peers
You may be alone, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t connect with your peers. A network of people in the same situation as you has countless personal and academic benefits—ask questions and create study groups, or organize game nights for a break! Check if there are Facebook groups for your school or program, and reach out to your student union or student clubs.
6. Engage in active learning
It’s really easy to zone out during recorded or online lectures. To add to it, your home environment is probably ripe with extra distractions.
Do your best to treat online classes with the same attention that you give to in-person sessions. Ask and answer questions, try handwriting your notes, and review material after class. The more effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it!
Most universities have a host of online learning resources—digital library collections, pre-recorded workshops, PDF guides, and staff who can be reached online who are dedicated to helping students navigate remote learning.
Remember the resources you probably used before the online learning switch, too! Websites like YouTube and Reddit, or mobile apps for flashcards and reminders are usually helpful and free.
7. Connect with your instructors
It might seem awkward to reach out to a professor who you’ve never met in person before, but they’re there to help you, and they’re probably missing human interaction as much as you are. Send that email or attend that virtual hour—it’s worth it!
8. Find your inspiration
It’s all too easy to lose your motivation to learn when you’re on your computer all day, every day. So, search for new ways to learn and study. Download your lectures and listen to them as you work out, or turn your end of semester review into a game that you can play online with your classmates. Get creative!
9. Ask for help
You aren’t the first person to be overwhelmed or feel lost by online studies. Ask for help when you need it—instructors, university staff, and peers are often more than happy to help. We’ve all been there.
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