10 Tips to Make Online Learning Work for You

Kathy Dean Education, Graduate, Student Life

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the importance of connections – from dependable internet service to a dependable support group. That’s particularly true for college students, according to the University of Mobile Student Success Center.

Whether you’ve chosen to take an online course for the entire semester, or are going online temporarily while in quarantine after being in close contact with an infected individual, there are specific things you can do to make online learning work for you.

The Student Success Center offers free support to help UM students make the transition from high school to college to graduation. The SSC mission is to provide students with concrete strategies to follow their calling and reach their academic and professional goals. (You can learn more about the University of Mobile’s resources for students at umobile.edu.)

Anna Meherg, student support services coordinator, and Shanoa Reed, student success coordinator in charge of first and second year programs, say staying connected to classmates and faculty is a key to being successful with online learning. The Christian university’s small class size and reputation for personal attention gives UM students a distinct advantage during the pandemic, in both on-ground and online courses.

Here are their Top 10 Tips that will keep you on track for success.

  1. Set up a designated study space
    • Create a distraction-free area to participate in synchronous classes and complete asynchronous assignments. Develop a system to let your family/roommates know you are “in class” and cannot be disturbed.
  1. Evaluate and confirm internet access
    • Make sure you have adequate internet service. If not, develop a plan to complete coursework using other available network connections. Always have a backup plan to use in the event of an outage.
  2. Stay connected
    • Stay connected to your classmates and peers. Develop study groups and plan time to socialize. Be creative. Use a virtual meeting platform to host study sessions and connect to other students.
  3. Have the appropriate tools
    • Ensure that you have access to equipment necessary to participate in online classes. Although it will vary for each course, you should have a working laptop, webcam, microphone and headphones.
  4. Become a self-advocate
    • Speak up if problems arise or something isn’t clear. Be proactive. Seek help early and often. Utilize campus resources.
  5. Be organized
    • Establish a routine. Outline your entire semester when classes begin and go through course requirements at the beginning of the week for all of your classes. Check your calendar each day for daily assignments.
  6. Manage time effectively
    • Do not procrastinate. Plan to spend 8-10 hours each week per course. Break down large assignments into manageable chunks rather than attempting to complete everything at one time.
  7. Communicate with your professors
    • Developing a relationship with your professor in an online course if just as important as when you are in the classroom. They want to help you be successful. Send an email or make a virtual appointment during their office hours.
  8. Remember to give yourself downtime.
    • Allow yourself time for breaks during long study sessions. Spend time with your friends and family. Identify campus resources available for mental health.
  9. Be on time for class.
    • If you are enrolled in a class with a synchronous meeting time, make sure you are logged in before the course begins. Allow time for connection or technology issues. Professors will notice anyone who is habitually late.
About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is assistant vice president for university communications and has helped tell the University of Mobile story since 1993. She is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist. Her husband and daughter are UM graduates. She loves playing in the yard – planting flowers, picking blueberries, pulling weeds and petting her two mini-schnauzers.