Thoughts on Distance Learning from College Students

As many schools are adjusting to distance learning in response to COVID-19, students have encountered new challenges as they adapt to new surroundings and learning environments. We recently asked our Student Ambassadors if they had any tips for online learning, and they shared many helpful pieces of advice. Here’s what they had to share:

  • Keep Yourself Motivated – Even though classes have switched to online, you should still push yourself as if you were physically in the classroom. Motivation comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether you feel driven by dressing up or rewarding yourself with quality break time, you should have some type of encouraging mechanism to keep you going in online classes. It’s important to remember that even though you’re not under the same circumstances as you would be at your physical college campus, your best is still expected.
    • Find some good music to listen to while you work on assignments. Consider playing classical music to create a calming environment.
  • Manage your Time – Balancing projects, studying for tests, and class meetings…it can get overwhelming. Set aside a specific amount of time each day so that you can feel productive on all of your schoolwork!
    • Try to do the work for your classes during the time you would normally have gone to class.
    • “I find it best to listen to my lectures at their normal meeting time and then do some homework immediately after.”
    • Realize that working from home is not a vacation! You are still a student and  working toward your degree. Don’t let the illusion of “more free time” cause you stumble and forget important obligations.
    • Avoid distractions and stay focused.
    • Work ahead if you are able. If your instructor has posted all the class materials and opened the assignments for you to turn in. Take advantage of the time you have and try working ahead of schedule, so you will have extra time if something comes up later
  • Use a Planner – “I do not know what I would do if I did not have my planner to write down all of my assignments and meeting times for my classes!”
    • Write down ALL due dates in a planner!
    • It can become difficult to keep due dates straight when everything is due online and you aren’t going to class to hear reminders.
    • “Personally, I like to use a planner to lay out things that I need to get done every day. I sit down each Sunday and set my planner for each day of the upcoming week so that I know when I need to work on things and on which day my assignments are due.”
    • Keep a Schedule. One of the most important things for taking online classes is to make sure you show up to those classes! Get a head start by having your schedule planned out and ready beforehand so that once your classes start, you don’t find yourself distracted by other things.
  • Keep a positive study space – Set up your desk space with the things that will keep you productive. This includes on your computer as well! Don’t leave tempting tabs like videos or instant messaging open while you’re doing work. Turn your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode so that notifications don’t interrupt you. Minimize distractions and create a space that is most rewarding to you.
    • Backup everything you can on your computer. The last thing you want is to lose hours of work, such as typed essays, because of unforeseen computer problems.
  • Keep a Consistent Routine – Before you were taking classes online, did you have a certain time of day that you usually woke up or went to bed? Did you always have breakfast at a certain time?
    • Think of the routine you had in place before and do your best to keep it. Your brain likes routines and breaking the ones you already naturally had could be detrimental to your performance in classes. You may think it’s a good idea to sleep in until 1pm and still get everything done, but it’s not going to produce your best work!
  • Stay in Touch with Your Instructors – Stay connected! Just because you are studying at home online doesn’t mean you are alone. You can always try to find remote tutoring or email your instructor. Take advantage of resources that your school has in place when you need help. 
    • Honest effort communicates to your professors that circumstances do not define you as a student. Do not let anything block your goals or vision for the semester. Finish strong!
    • Check your school email and school platform where all of your instructors post assignments. You do not want to miss something!
  • Explore new study outlets – One positive aspect of online courses is the new opportunity to utilize programs like Hawkes Learning to assist you in your classes.
    • The Hawkes Learning online program has a learning module to help you become comfortable in subjects you might be covering in your classes. This section is present to teach you at your own pace. Additionally, there is a “practice” module to refresh your memory on what you have learned. Implementing the knowledge you have gained will assure that you are prepared for what is to come in the final module titled “Certify.” In this section, you will put your studies to the ultimate test. After all three steps of the Recommended Learning Path, class subjects should feel more familiar. Being confident in what you are learning is just as important as intaking the information. Choosing to learn efficiently is the most important step to excelling in your online courses.

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