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How to be successful in online class during COVID-19?

Apr 18, 2020


Start with the right motivation. Determine that you are going to succeed in your classes, no matter the location, and develop a plan for doing so. Set a goal or benchmark for what success looks like to you. Then, develop a plan to work toward that benchmark. Will you study every morning for one hour? Read for 30 minutes over lunch? Complete a practice exam?

If you’re getting behind with reaching those goals, take a deep breath and relax. Re-focus on your intended accomplishments, and if helpful, call a friend or classmate to share your goals. Or touch base with your professor or student support advisor. Often, verbalizing your goals to others can help keep you motivated and on-track.


If you’re new to online learning and wondering how to be successful in online classes, it’s important that you give yourself time to learn, grow and permission to stumble. You may need a few attempts to connect your video-conference, you may have trouble with new learning formats, or adhering to a schedule while being at home. This is all normal as you adapt to new ways of doing things. Give yourself the freedom to experience a few bumps along the way, but stay positive and adjust to get back on track.


Wherever you choose to study, setting up a dedicated space and routine will help set you up for success. Look for a spot in your home that’s away from noise and distractions. Of course, having a dedicated office is ideal, however, certainly not required. Get creative if needed. A small table in a bedroom or basement can function as a desk. Have headphones handy to use to block out noise if needed or for participating in group project calls.

Keep coffee, soda or water on hand to keep you awake or hydrated, as well as snacks to keep your mind fueled as you study. If you find your energy waning, take a break. Go for a quick walk around the block or a quick jog up and down your stairs. Getting in some movement, if only for a few minutes, can help you return to your studies feeling refreshed.


With all of the multi-tasking we do and always connected mind-set, it’s all too easy to get distracted from your studies. Turning off your phone or using airplane mode can big a big help in eliminating these types of outside distractions. If you need be online to conduct research, set aside dedicated blocks of time just for that purpose and turn-off other social notifications.  This will help eliminate disruptions. Although it’s tempting to do a “quick check” of your social feed, it can end up costing you valuable study time.  Some find it helpful to use a timer-based concentration technique, such as Pomodoro.  Techniques like these allow you to concentrate in small blocks of time, with small breaks in between. This is an excellent, structured approach for those just beginning to work and learn from home.

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