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Overcoming Online Classes: 10 Tips to Flourish in Online College Classes

As COVID-19 has pushed professors to online classrooms as a last resort, many students, like myself, are frantic. Some people learn better on their own while others prefer in-person discussions and communication. If you are someone like me who typically does not flourish in an online-class setting, take these ten tips which have helped me and many of my friends.

1. Time Management

During a normal semester, college classes meet at a designated time and place. However, this semester looks different for many students. Many college classes are asynchronous, which means they don’t have a consistent meeting time. For many people, like myself, this is a recipe for disaster. Instead of relying on others, create your own schedule. From the time you wake up to bedtime, create a personalized schedule and rely on it like a new religion. You will have time for yourself and classwork.

2. Planner

This is the best tool to help with time management. It also helps keep track of homework and due dates. There are many types of planners out there. No matter what type of planner you get, write down your homework assignments and their due dates as soon as you get your syllabus from each class.

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3. Designated Study Area

Let’s be real: we all miss our favorite spots on campus. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, many campuses have shut down and/or reduced travel. However, you need a special study space. Whether it is a desk, counter, table or anything in between, make sure you have a designated study area that is uncluttered and reliable. Every day, go to this space. While you are participating in a video call or reading a book, completing these tasks in a specific place will help you enter “study-mode” faster and finish your homework with more attentiveness.

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4. Be Present

Many online college classes don’t require you to attend the video calls. However, no matter how much you think you don’t need to attend, it is there for your benefit. Attend every meeting possible or ask your professor to send you an overview of what was covered during that session if, for some reason, your internet goes wonky. Use every resource available to you!

5. Buy Hard-Copy Books

No matter how cliché it seems, mastering the technique of highlighting text will help you interact with the text. Most online textbooks (eBooks) have the option to highlight and take notes on the side, but I find it helpful to interact with the physical, hard-copy version of the text. The extra price is usually worth it for me. 

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6. Study Buddy

While professors aren’t able to give out student information, feel free to reach out to your classmates. Whether that be through a one-on-one chat during a classroom video call or an email, you can ask for help studying with other students. Plus, if you are struggling in the class, there are usually others struggling as well.

7. Reach Out For Help

If you are feeling academically challenged or emotionally exhausted, there are resources to help you—you just have to reach out. On campuses like Winona State University, there are multiple professors in each department, tutoring services and campus clinics. These resources will help you become less stressed with challenging materials and will teach you how to handle the little stress you have left.

8. Personalize Your Computer

Let’s face it: computer screens can take a toll on our eyes. Whether you turn on a blue-light filter or turn down the brightness on your computer screens, these small changes can be detrimental to your attention-span regarding online classes.

9. Take Breaks

If you are tired of looking at your computer screen, go for a walk outside. If your hand hurts from taking notes, pause the video and come back in a few minutes. While you shouldn’t do this too much, you need to do this at least a couple times a day otherwise your brain will go into information-overload.

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    10. Take Care of Your Body

      This is the most important step throughout the entire list. If your body isn’t healthy, your brain won’t retain information as well. Make sure to keep a consistent sleep schedule, eat well-portioned meals, and don’t be afraid to go for a walk or start a new exercise routine!

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      Now that you have these ten tips, you will be able to conquer your online classes with ease!

      Cheyenne Halberg is a student at Winona State University with a major in Communication Arts and Literature Teaching. She is from the outskirts of St. Cloud, MN. Cheyenne enjoys writing to express herself and empowering others to do what they love. Her hobbies include spending time with friends and family, watching football, spending time outdoors, crafting and writing. Her life goal is to leave an impression on the next generations that allows them to embrace their unique qualities.
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