Tips for Online Learning Success

How to succeed in a virtual atmosphere

Abdifarhan Ahmed, Writer

You are sitting in class, but you are having a challenging time getting ahead. Your siblings are arguing in the next room, and your dog is barking in the backyard. You are stuck at home taking online classes because of the COVID-19 pandemicIf you were able to go to school, you would not be in this predicament. Here are some tips you can follow that will make online learning stress free.  

Find a distraction free environment 

One of the best ways to do well in class is finding a solid place to learn. Choose a spot that has little to no distractions and away from the family. “It’s important to find a distraction free environment because it allows you to focus, work, and do this virtual school so much easier,” junior Marisol Argueta-Hernandez said. If it is possible, it would be ideal to set youcomputer on a desk or table so that your hands are free to take notes and flip through class notes. 

Check: Are you muted? 

After you log into class, and before class time starts, make sure you mute yourself. Background noises such as chewing, typing, or meowing/barking pets might not sound like a ton on your side, but those noises can easily magnify across your classmates’ and teacher’s speakers. You will know you are muted when you see a slash over the audio/mute button. 

Double-check: Are you really muted? 

Just make sure of it so you do not say something you will regret. 

Set goals for yourself 

Setting a goal at the beginning of the semester/term gives you an extra purpose to your session and can help you focus on the content at hand. “Goals can be motivating. It can be harder to find motivation for things that seem challenging or boring and when it’s not clear how something might be relevant. The shift to widespread online learning intensifies that. Goals can provide little drops of reward to help push through, Iowa State professor Brenda Witherspoon said. Make sure you check in with yourself weekly to see how you are doing and if you can do better. 

Treat the online course as a real class 

When taking online classes, you need to have the discipline to sit down and say, I am going to work on this as if I was at school, as well as the commitment to actually follow through. Although you can be flexible as to when you complete your work, it is important you do not put it off indefinitely. 

Practice time management 

The ability to create your own schedule is often one of the biggest benefits of taking classes online. However, the freedom can also be disastrous if you do not have appropriate time management skills. Without these skills, you will easily find yourself turning in assignments late or handing in subpar assignments. “The scientific law of entropy describes the tendency of a system toward disorder, and it’s a good metaphor for human tendencies. It takes energy inputs to maintain order. Without those inputs, imagine our laundry piles, our email inboxes, and our class assignments. Sometimes we just get more done when we impose an artificial structure on how we spend our time. Building on the ideas of motivation and goals, plus identifying what traction looks like, time management is just one more tool that can help us dedicate appropriate energy to all the things that are important to us academically and personally,” Witherspoon said. 

Get rid of distractions 

From Netflix to social media to TikTok, you will find yourself faced with many distractions that will derail youstudies. The most successful online students know how to decrease these distractions and set aside time to focus. The greater your ability to focus, the faster you can complete a task while completing the task to a higher standard. “I created a schedule for myself and for my classes, so during those times my computer stays off to prevent myself from playing games,” junior Thien Bach said. 

Engage in chat 

Participate in the class’s chat to help you better understand the class material and engage with fellow classmates. “Engaging in the chat has been better than conversations in the classroom. More students participate in the chat, they talk more among themselves and there are more questions that get asked to help students learn a lot more,” Bach said. Use the chat feature to ask questions, share interesting ideas, or agree with what your classmates are saying.