Struggling with Online Learning? 5 Tips to Help Right the Course
A year into the pandemic, most colleges and universities are continuing to offer classes either fully or partially online for the spring 2021 semester. While many students have been able to adapt to online learning without much trouble, many others are struggling to find their groove in a remote learning environment.
If you’re in the latter group, don’t despair—and don’t give up. There are effective, proven strategies to help overcome virtually any aspect of online education you find challenging.
Let’s look at five concrete steps you can take right now to help succeed as an online student.
Tip 1: Plan a Schedule (and Stick to It)
Online college degree programs offer busy students a flexible way to advance their education without sacrificing other life commitments. But they also require a high level of organization to successfully juggle coursework with competing priorities. For every online course you’re enrolled in, you’ll have deadlines, classes, group projects, and progress you’ll have to make each week. To accomplish all these activities in addition to work and family obligations, effective time management is key.
Take a few minutes before each week of the semester to list upcoming tasks, due dates, events, and goals, both educational and personal, and create a manageable plan for accomplishing them. (As a rule of thumb, you can expect to spend about 15 hours per week for each online class you’re enrolled in.) Of course, the most carefully crafted plan will be useless if not adhered to, so strive to stick to your schedule to ensure you stay on course.
Tip 2: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Sustaining motivation is among the most common challenges students face in online degree and certificate programs. On campus, you’d be around other students, as dedicated and passionate as you are about learning and preparing for the future. At home, you need to focus extra hard to replicate that energy.
To help combat this challenge, make a conscious effort to focus on the big picture. Whenever you’re feeling sluggish, remind yourself why you enrolled in your program in the first place. Was it to advance your career? To make more money? To move into a new industry or job function? Regularly “zooming out” to remember what you’re ultimately working toward can help you refuel and muster motivation to keep going.
Tip 3: Turn on Some Tunes
Many students struggle to concentrate for long periods of time and stay focused when taking online classes from home. To help stave off distractions during classes and study time, put on your headphones and turn up the volume on your favorite playlist.
Music has been scientifically proven to provide help when you’re trying to focus. But when it comes to studying, all music is not created equal. While classical music is well known for its benefits on productivity and creativity, it’s not the only genre experts recommend. Check out this blog post to learn more about how to compile the best study playlist for your style and personality.
Tip 4: Stay Connected
Online students sometimes risk feeling isolated, which can drag down morale, productivity, and performance. The risk of social isolation has been compounded by the pandemic, with fewer opportunities for in-person interactions with family members and friends.
On the flip side, online students have a unique antidote to social isolation built right into their schedules: your online classes themselves. Virtual courses offer plenty of chances to engage and collaborate with classmates and professors, such as group projects, discussion boards, and other interactive elements. But ultimately, the amount of social interaction you find in your online classes is up to you. You may be able to sail through your classes in relative obscurity, but you’d be missing out on valuable social outlets and opportunities to build relationships that last long after your online class ends.
Tip 5: Take Advantage of Academic Resources
College is supposed to be hard. But if you’re putting in the necessary time and effort and are still struggling, know that help is available—and seek it. Many instructors offer virtual office hours, time specifically allotted for online students to ask questions and get extra help. Your university may also offer tutoring, writing assistance, and other academic support services for students in online programs. If you’re having trouble grasping new concepts or are suffering poor grades, take advantage of the tools and resources available to help you succeed in your education.
Whether you’re looking to start or finish an undergraduate degree, advance your education with a master’s degree, or add a graduate certification to your resume, we invite you to explore our online programs and see what it will take to make that next step into your profession. If you are interested in learning more about our team and UTEP Connect’s 100%-online undergraduate, master’s, and graduate certificate programs, reach out. An enrollment counselor will contact you directly.