5 Online Course Tips and Tricks for Students

Posted: March 30, 2020 11:30:00 AM CDT


Whether you are a seasoned pro or completely new to online courses, I will be sharing some tips from the student perspective on how to get started and crush your online courses for the rest of this semester. I am by no means a pro, but here are some things that I have learned along the way!

1. Beat deadlines and read your syllabus

Beating deadlines can be scary and knowing that you don't have anyone telling you when something is due can lead to a serious problem. Here is how I manage deadlines and even finish assignments early:

That piece of paper or tab that says "syllabus"? Make sure you read it. I know a lot of students may skim over it, but it helps if you read because it tells you exactly what is due and when. If your professor has been talking about changing due dates and such, they may have sent you an updated syllabus as well. I think of the syllabus as the key to the course that will help me unlock when to do assignments. Usually toward the back there will be a timeline with assignments and due dates. Take those dates and assignments and write them all down, then tell yourself which ones you are going to do this week, next week, and so on. One other thing that is cool in Canvas, where your course is located, is the calendar tab in the far-left column. When a professor sets a due date in your course, it automatically feeds to this calendar so you can see a calendar view of when your assignments are due. When you finish one assignment and turn it in, it will cross it out. This is nice because then you know what you have accomplished and what you need to do next.

2. Make a study plan and break down tasks

Looking at all the tasks that you need to get done for the week or the module can be daunting. My advice to you is to break those tasks down into smaller tasks throughout the week. Make a study plan that you can stick to and one that can make you work harder than you would before. What works for me is to break down the hours in the day and assign a task to each hour. I usually wake up at the same time every day, make my bed, and check emails or watch an episode on Netflix. After that, I know it's time to get down to business and start looking at how I am going to section off my day. Sometimes it helps if you plan out your day the night before so that when you wake up you know what you are going to do. It is a tactic for me to keep motivated and not lose sight of the end goal.

3. Make a dedicated study space

Make yourself a dedicated study space that you know you will be productive in. Whatever you do, do not make this study space your bed. It is said that your bed is a place to sleep, so if you study in your bed your brain will either think that you need to study when you are sleeping or vice versa. So, whether it is the kitchen table, a coffee table, or a makeshift surface for your laptop to rest on, you will be more productive. Personally, I like to play music as well when I am doing homework. There are multiple playlists on Spotify and Pandora that you can listen to that are there specifically for studying - they will get you in the productive mood.

4. Connect with your professor

Now more than ever is a time to connect with your professor and be present in Canvas. Checking Canvas every day is extremely important because more than likely your professor will send you messages about the module or just important messages in general. Some of us are all new to this online thing, even professors, so if you see that something isn't showing up right or if you can't get into a module for some reason, reach out to your professor. They will respect your diligence, and it shows that you are reading through the information that they worked tirelessly to put up for you.

5. Figure out how you learn best

This one took me awhile because online learning is much different than I would have ever imagined. When it comes to picking courses, I currently prefer online courses rather than in-person because of the flexibility that it offers. I am more of a visual learner, so I have to do things a little bit differently. I like to personalize my navigation through the modules and coursework. My piece of advice for this one is not to be too hard on yourself at the very beginning. If you have not taken an online course before it takes a while to get acquainted to the platform and how the professor sets up the course in Canvas. If you made connection with students in a class before it went online then you may be able to reach out to them for guidance as well.

I hope these five tips can help you crush your academic goals this semester, whether you are a seasoned pro or just a beginner with online courses. There are also multiple sources out there to help you if you need some help throughout this process as well.

Here are a few:

UNK Online Team Contact Information

UNK ITS Helpdesk

Keep Learning Canvas course

UNK Learning Commons Resources

By: Shelby Hoffmann

Category: eCampus, UNK Online, General

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