10 Tips for Success with Online College Classes for Beginners

With COVID-19, a lot of learning has gone online. Lectures and even examinations are happening online. In such a sudden reversal, know how to get the best output from these online courses are a beginner to online learning.

Following the recent events, universities and colleges are opting to take their classes online. Students can keep learning; but are they prepared enough for it?

The shift is going to be tough, but note that we've had online college classes for some time now. Many people have been learning outside the traditional classroom for years thanks to online courses, which offer all types of classes to take. Some people use it to have a flexible college schedule that works with their job hours.

How do these people stay on top of their classwork when taking online college classes? Keep on reading to find out how to be successful at taking an online class.

  1. Treat It Like a Regular Class

    The best way to have enough discipline to attend an online class is to treat it like you would a regular class. Stop thinking you can watch the lecture again later. Show up on time, attempt to understand the material, and take notes.

    It's easy to not take an online class as seriously; after all, you can access all the materials later, right? Well, that's correct but that's the wrong mindset to take.

    Participating in an online class is the best way to get yourself engaged with learning. This way, you also won't have to scramble to learn all the materials in a day. 

  2. Find Out How You Learn Best

    People learn through different means. Some prefer a hands-on approach, others learn through listening, while other people are visual learners. The beauty of online classes is you can learn how you want to.

    First, identify what method works best for you. Then, create materials from your online lectures to help you with that. If you learn by listening, for example, you can download the class and then listen to it. If you're a part of the 65% who are visual learners, download and print out transcripts.

    Pay attention to what puts you in the mood to learn, as well. For instance, you're more energetic in the mornings than in the evenings. In that case, do most of your study time in those hours. 

    Need a cup of coffee to be able to focus? Brew yourself some coffee before going to class. The good thing about online classes is you have time to do this right before the class starts.

  3. Learn Proper Time Management

    Time management is an important skill in college, but it's more important when you're learning via the internet. After all, it's easy to blur out the line between study time and leisure time when you're at a place of leisure, a.k.a. your home.

    Create a structure and stick to it. Set up a schedule of your classes and your study time; print it out and stick it to where it's visible. 

    Mark all the important dates on your calendar, as well. If it's about a project, dedicate some time each day or each week to work on it exclusively.

    Let your housemates know about your schedule so they can give you the space you need for it. They must support you, too, so they won't disturb you.

  4. Set Up a Dedicated Study Space
    Going into the zone can be hard if you've associated all areas of your house with leisure and/or rest. The living room is for watching TV, the bedroom is for sleeping, the kitchen is for eating, and all these rooms are for lazing around. You'll have a hard time getting into the right mental state to learn in these areas.

    With a dedicated study area, you can teach your mind and body that this space is for productivity. As such, it should be conducive to learning. It should make you feel energetic and focused.  

    You can also design this area in a way that's appropriate for online college classes. Choose an area with a neutral background and less visual noise, so as not to distract your class. It should be quiet to help you focus on the task at hand and to cut distractions.

    Choose a spot where family members don't often pass by. They can be distracting, as well, to you and your online class.

  5. Avoid Distractions

    A classroom is a perfect space for learning as it helps students focus on what's in front, a.k.a. the professor and the teachings. It creates an environment wherein you can learn alongside your peers.
    One of the best benefits of learning in a classroom, though, is the lack of distractions. That's why many students distract themselves by staring at a plain clock instead.

    This is the kind of environment you don't have in your home, where distractions are abundant. That's why it helps to set up a designated study area. However, you should take extra steps to make sure you won't succumb to distracting things.

    When it's time to study, turn off your phone or at the least, mute it. Responding to that meme your friend sent you can wait until later. One look at your phone can send you on an hours-long procrastination spree, so limit your smartphone use as much as possible.

    Log out of your social media accounts, too, to discourage you from using it on your desktop. Remove everything from your desk not related to studying, and if you must, bring in food before you start your study session so you don't have to go to the kitchen every time you need a snack, where there's plenty of distractions. 

  6. Learn How to Use Your Equipment

    Before you take online classes, learn how to use your equipment first. Learn how to turn on your webcam, turn on your mic, connect them, and such.

    Webcams have lights beside them that turn green when the cam is on. When that light is green, you know your class can see you. Refrain from doing actions in front of it you wouldn't want anyone to see. 
    Familiarize yourself with the platform and software you're going to use, as well. Are you going to use an online portal, a video conferencing app, chat boards, and so on?

    Learn how to log in, communicate with the other users, upload documents, and more in advance. This will reduce confusion, so you can give your full attention to the online lecture. 

    If you can, do a test run with your friends. This allows you to check the functions to see how you can mute/unmute a mic, turn on your cam for everyone, and so on. 

  7. Be Proactive in Class

    Being proactive is going to be more important here, especially since the professor can't see you. It's unlikely that they'll be able to pay attention to each one when there are a lot of faces on the screen.
    Email your professors about any questions you might have in class. If your teacher has virtual office hours, take advantage of that. 

    Don't wait until the last minute to ask questions. You might not get answers in time for the test or submission of the assignment. 

  8. Use All Available Resources
    If your teachers give you additional resources to help you get through the course, use them. Don't treat these as assignments meant to hassle you; on the contrary, they can make your life easier. 

    Use online resources, as well, even if your professor doesn't provide you with some. Web apps like this converter and advanced calculation apps, for example, can help you with Math if you can't get ahold of your professor. You may also scour online forums for tips related to your course.

  9. Create a Virtual Study Group
    If you find that you learn and study best when with other students, don't let online classes stop you from doing that. You can still create study groups, although you'll have to hold all your meetings online.

    That shouldn't be a problem. Thanks to modern technology, we now have a lot of options to hold virtual meetings. Apps like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, and so on can make people take part in discussions face-to-face with the use of webcams.

    Having such a study group helps all the members involved. You can hold each other accountable, and you can remind each other of due dates. 

    You can do this with each class. Post on the online forum or your Facebook group to look for willing participants.

  10. Keep Your Lines of Communication Open

    Communication is going to be the most important part of online learning. Asking teacher questions, doing group work, and more are all done via the internet. You can't ask questions in person after a class, for example, or talk to your seatmate about an upcoming project.

    That's why you should keep all your communication lines open and make sure to check them from time to time.

    If your class has an online portal, watch out for announcements in that space. Read updates on your Facebook group and monitor your emails regularly. Whatever method your class uses to communicate, keep it open. 

    That way, you're always on top of the class schedule. You'll stay aware of any changes in schedule, quiz announcements, and so on. Your classmates can reach out to you and expect a prompt response whenever and vice versa.

Make Online College Classes Work for You

The shift to online college classes from a traditional classroom is going to be hard on students, but with the right attitude, they can overcome the obstacles.

Follow our tips above to make it work for you, and read more of our content to learn more.


Author: Umesh17 Jun 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

This is really an exhaustive guide from the experienced author for the students attending to the online classes.

Though online classes were earlier also they were limited in their scope and mainly were pursued by the employed people who wanted to increase their skill levels in a niche area for career growth and concerns like that. Qualified unemployed people also joined them as an interim measure to enhance their understanding of some important subjects until they get some job somewhere. Now due to the present pandemic, there is a sudden change in our study system and we are isolated in our home environment and are being asked to study in isolation maybe for the whole academic year and also afterwards if the situation does not improve. Prima facie it does not seem anything strange in studying from home but one thing that comes to the mind is the human mind and its resistance to the monotony. In a class, we have a group of people interacting with each other and then in the break, we run out to make ourselves fresh and get ready for the next class. So the young generation has to control their temperament and learn to live in isolation and mitigate the challenge of gregarious human nature. Anyway, with time we all would learn these new ways and hopefully, we would attend these classes and get success in our lives and achieve targets for making a career.

Author: Swati Sharma23 Aug 2020 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

Very helpful article by the author , now a days online classes are the only way of study for all students so these tips will help them for their study. Many students having problems in online classes and did not concentrate in the study , there are some more ways to keep consistency in your study by online classes -
Develop skills from group discussion, you can strengthen yourself by doing group discussion with the people associated with your studies. You can share or share studies material with your friends.
By group discussion, the concept of someone on a topic is more clear and can be better explained to another. Therefore, focus should be on group studies. This also creates an atmosphere for reading.
When the subject is going to be lectured, you read that topic beforehand. So that when online lecture is being given, then you do not have any problem in understanding that topic.
Make notes with lectures as well. By writing, any topic is well understood, so make a habit of making notes.
When you were in college, you studied in class or in your campus library. It creates an atmosphere of studies, but it is a bit difficult at home. Therefore it is important that you choose a place where you feel the most for online lectures in your home.
Stay in touch with your teacher and tell them via email or any chat app when you have a problem. This will mean that whenever the teacher gets a chance, he will understand your doubts and help you clear them.

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