Online learning can be challenging. It’s easy to shut the computer when you don’t feel like doing school and click the “leave” button once Teams/Zoom gets boring. Online classes may seem easy since they don’t require in-person attendance, but it's also even easier sometimes to become lazy with them. School is an investment, so it’s essential to make the most of virtual classes and get your money’s worth. Stay motivated with these tips on how to make the most of online courses.
Switch up locations
One benefit of online classes is that they can be done wherever there is internet access, but where they are done makes all the difference. Getting out of bed in the morning can be a challenge. Resist the urge to cuddle up with your computer under the covers for class and instead, find an environment that will help you remain focused. Local coffee shops, the library or the outdoors are great places to make online courses less monotonous. Students can even create their own study space in a house or dorm by having a clean designated school work area. Considering the noise level of the environment is another critical aspect. Some students need total silence; others need background noise to focus properly.
Students must understand what distracts them and how to get rid of it. Cutting out distractions will make paying attention in online classes easier. It’s tempting to reach for your phone when an online course starts to lose your interest. After all, no one is monitoring who is paying attention during class. Turn off the phone and put it away. Instead, practice actively listening to lectures by taking notes and participating in virtual group discussions. For students to do their best academically, they need to be feeling their best. Taking online classes requires staring at a screen for extended periods, which can cause strain on the eyes. Reduce fatigue by using blue-light glasses and taking frequent breaks looking away from the screen.
Navigating classmate relationships is a different dynamic in online classes compared to in-person. If a class is meeting synchronously, drop a message in the Teams or Zoom chat box offering to make a group chat. Using an app like GroupMe is easy for many people to communicate regardless of their phone model. Use the group chat to ask each other questions, for help on homework or if anyone wants to study together. Just because a class is online doesn’t mean students can’t make connections. Also, attending office hours to get to know the professor is a smart way to make the most of online learning. It’ll help students feel more comfortable asking questions and confident seeking help in class.