How to Succeed in Online Classes

I’m no expert on the topic of schoolwork, but I did happen to take most of the classes for my Associate of Arts and Sciences degree online. From this experience, I did come up with some strategies to make my life easier as I navigated online education. Since many college students have had to switch to online classes due to campus shutdowns caused by COVID-19, I thought I’d share some tips I picked up from my previous online classes.

a hand holds a pen writing on sheets of paper on a wooden desk. there's a coffee cup and a notebook in front of it.

Download Your Classroom App and Keep Push Notifications on

And I cannot stress this enough, keep your push notifications on! Whatever the app may be that your school uses, be it Canvas, Google Classroom, etc., download the app and turn notifications on. Both the colleges I’ve gone to used Canvas, and having it downloaded on my phone saved me from missing assignments more than a few times. Having notifications turned on is super helpful because it notifies you when new assignments are created, announcements the professor makes, and other helpful things. It’s basically just great to keep notifications on to stay up-to-date in every class.

Keep a Written Planner AND use Phone Reminders

Some people may do fine with just one of these (or none) but I find I can actually remember to complete things when I both write it down and put a reminder in my phone. This is pretty self-explanatory, just keep track of what’s due in a planner and your phone’s integrated calendar, or an app like Google Calendar. I like to put reminders of what’s due a couple of days before it’s actually due so that it’s fresh in my mind and I don’t end up being reminded of the assignment the last minute before it’s due. Scheduling certain times on your calendar to do homework is really useful, too. I found that the extra reinforcement of both writing what I needed to do and seeing it on my phone really forced me to actually do it and maybe sometimes do it before the day it’s due. 

Actually Read Your Emails

Usually, it’s worth actually reading through your professor’s emails to the class or you personally. There are times where the teacher will change something about an assignment, and there will be this long email and the information about the assignment will be somewhere in the jumble of words that lay before you on your screen. While it may seem boring to read through the whole email, it’s useful to know what your professor is talking about, especially if there are any changes made that impact you. I promise it won’t take as long as it seems and it will be useful for actually knowing what’s going on. 

Don’t Overwhelm Yourself

A very important thing to remember is to not overwhelm yourself. Sure, it seems like a good idea to get everything for the week done the night it’s due, but when that night actually comes I guarantee you it will not be a fun time. Take about as much time out of your week as you would for in-person classes, and make use of your off-time. Just because classes are online and accessible all the time doesn’t mean they should consume your life. But it also doesn’t mean you should leave everything until the last minute and get stress migraines over it. Relax a little. 

I hope you learned something useful from this, good luck with online classes!

Thanks for reading! 

HCXO