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Succeed in Your Online Classes

by Meghan Kowalski on 2020-09-16T09:00:00-04:00 | Comments

Image of a desk and coffee with text - Online Class Tips You Got This, Firebirds!The fall semester has started and it's just a little different this year. Most courses are online and that means you might be adjusting to attending classes via your computer.

We have a few tips to help you succeed in this new normal. 

  • Find Your Workspace: It doesn't matter where you set up your desk, just make sure that it's a comfortable environment to work in. Use this spot for every class. This will help you separate your work/school/home life just a little bit.
  • Test Your Internet Connection: Nothing is more aggravating than losing your internet connection during the middle of class. Log in a few minutes early from your dedicated workspace and test your connection. You might need to move closer to your Wi-Fi connection. If you can, hardwire yourself into your router for an even faster and more reliable connection.
  • Consider Your Background: If you have to turn on your camera (and, hopefully, you have the option not to) check out everything behind you. You don't have to spice up your space for Room Rater, but you may want to move laundry piles, your kid's stuffed animals, or anything you might want to keep private off-camera. Alternatively, use a virtual background. You can even (remotely) work from the Library - download a hi-res image here!
  • Mute Your Microphone: If you're not the one talking, mute your mic. Check that your muted occasionally throughout the class. Muting your mic is a public service and will make everyone happier. 
  • Take Notes by Hand: Sure, you're computer is right in front of you, but you'll remember class material better if you write it down by hand. Plus, this way you're not toggling between windows, screens, or programs. Plus, you get the chance to doodle which just might help you focus.
  • Eliminate Distractions: Ok - this one can be a hard one - particularly if you have kids or family at home. Try your best to remove all distractions from your workspace during class time. Put your phone in airplane mode, stop your chores and other work, and turn off every other screen in your room. Do you best to ensure that you focus only on the class.
  • Come Prepared: Online classes are just as important as regular classes. Make sure you do the reading and assignments so that you can actively participate during live sessions. 
  • Set a Schedule and Avoid Procrastination: It can be really tempting to take it easy during online classes - you're not commuting to campus and class is always just... there... waiting. But don't wait! Put classes on your calendar and make sure you schedule in time to work on your assignments. This way, you've left yourself enough time to finish reading and projects.
  • Ask Questions!: Confused about an assignment, how to use Blackboard, or just want to talk things out? Ask questions! Ask your professor, ask your classmates, ask a librarian! We're all in the same boat and we are all eager to make sure we succeed. It never hurts to ask to get a little direction.

One of our favorite podcasts, NPR's Life Kit, recently posted an episode all about succeeding in online classes. You can listen to it here.

If you've got a tip to share, let us know in the comments! Together, we can make sure every Firebird has a great semester.

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