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Online learning resources

Online Learning Resources

Top 10 tips for Success in Online Classes

  • Manage time wisely. Schedule enough time in your personal calendar to study materials and complete assignments. Treat these blocks of time as seriously as in a face-to-face class. Add assignment due dates to your personal calendar and keep a close eye on them. Set goals for what you will accomplish daily. 

  • Establish a good workplace. Find a quiet place with a good internet connection, access to power, and freedom from distraction. Gather all the equipment you need to complete your class/assignment.

  • Stay organized. Organize all your files in a way that makes sense to you. It is wise to keep a copy of anything you submit in the event a technology problem requires you to resubmit it. Take good notes while doing your readings or watching online lectures.

  • Make a study plan. Set out a clear and achievable study plan and stick to it 95% of the time, allowing room for the unexpected. Write out a weekly schedule with dates and times and set a certain amount of hours per day or week into your schedule for studying. Schedule in healthy habits. Healthy eating, exercise and social time are important for your overall health.

  • Use online resources. Make sure you use all available student resources. Take time to click on each tab on your school's website and D2L to see how to navigate them and what they have to offer. Also, check out your library, writing center and tutoring online resources.

  • Take notes. Use headphones to listen to textbooks in ebook format. Write down or highlight important points and then put in outline form when finished reading. Keeping notes in a Word document allows you to use “Ctrl” & “F” to quickly find needed information when taking online quizzes and exams.

  • Make study enjoyable. Use whatever incentives make your learning environment enjoyable for you, i.e. happy or mellow music, coffee, etc. Take frequent, short breaks to rejuvenate your brain. Decide on a task, set a timer for however long you need (ex. 25 min.), and work! Take a break when the timer goes off. Reward yourself when you do well (get an A on a paper or complete a challenging project). It’s easier to stay motivated when something you enjoy is waiting for you at the end.

  • Connect with others. Online portals, discussion boards and Facebook can help find students in the same course. Interact with your classmates and professor as though you were doing in-class learning. Join a study team, create a team of virtual friends and have regular discussions, help each other with proof-reading, tips and exchange of resources. Meet up periodically to see how each is doing and discuss challenges through WhatsApp or Facebook.

  • Eliminate distractions. Consider turning off your cell phone to avoid losing focus every time a text or notification pops up. If necessary, try downloading a website blocker like Cold Turkey and Freedom to eliminate distractions that compete for your attention while studying. 

  • Develop and use effective communication skills.  Use the tools provided by your school to communicate with your professors, such as email, discussion groups, chat room office hours, cell phones and texting. You may never meet your advisor or professors face-to-face, but they will be your primary resources and first points of contact. Introduce yourself to them and ask questions when you are unsure about anything

Adapted from:  7 Tips for Success When Taking Online Courses; 21 Tips for Online Class Success; Online Student’s Manual for Success

Some Advice from a LSC-Montgomery Professor
1. Be patient with your professor and your fellow classmates. It's possible neither your professor nor your classmates have ever done online work before even though you might have.
2. Be patient with the technology. If your professor is having everyone log in at once with video chat, there might be some serious kinks with that at first. If you know what you are doing, volunteer to help the professor. If you don't know what you are doing, sit quietly and be patient.
3. Let your professor know if something isn't working in the class (an assignment isn't open even though your professor said it would be open, a link isn't working, whatever), do not assume it will magically start working. That calls for an immediate email to your professor. See below.
4. Emailing your professor: Always use a respectful tone. "Dr. Smith, the assignment you said would be available today isn't open. Do you mind checking on that?" Perfect. In this situation, you do not ever, ever, ever send your professor an angry email over technology issues. The backroom of learning management systems is check box hell. Even old veterans at online teaching make mistakes while trying to set things up.
5. Technology issues: Find the email or phone number of the IT people and keep it handy. Some things in distance learning are professor error and some are IT fixes. Be ready to contact both.
6. Communication is key. When I teach, I can see your face. I can see you nod when you understand and crinkle your brow when you don't. I can't see that online, and even in a synchronous video chat I'm likely to miss it because scanning a screen isn't the same as scanning a room. If you do not understand something, it's imperative that you reach out to your professor.
7. Due dates: If you are a last-minute kind of student, break that habit in the next week. At the very least go in and open the assignment, check to make sure any links work for you, that you have access to all the material you need to do the assignment, etc. You won't be able to quickly poll your classmates about a quiz or in-class assignment before the prof walks in the door. And you might have multiple things all due at the same time if everyone reverts to a "Sunday at 11:59 pm" due date. Time management is going to keep you sane. If you get sick, or someone in your house gets sick and that disrupts your work, that is an email to your professor BEFORE a due date.

Self Care

Top 10 Tips for Self-Care

  • Sleep.  Have a regular sleep schedule to allow your brain to recharge and your body to rest. Students need 6-8 hours of sleep a night. To increase better sleeping habits, turn off all electronics 30 minutes before bedtime. Download the SLEEP GENIUS app to track your sleep patterns, schedule naps, and listen to calming sounds.
  • Eat healthy and balanced meals. Eat more fruits and vegetables and food rich in Omega-3 (fish, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans) to boost your mood. Replace fast-food with smaller, healthy meals every 3-4 hours and drink 6-8 glasses of water daily. Pack healthy snacks for your long hours on campus. Skipping meals deprives your body of energy, and dehydration can increase physical and mental stress.
  • Exercise. Exercising 30 minutes or more three to five days a week helps relax muscle tension and anxiety, relax negative thoughts, and boost your confidence. As a student, you have unlimited gym access on campus in the Wellness Center. Try other fitness activities, such as yoga, biking, hiking, running, etc. Download the MyFitnessPal app to keep track of your exercise goals.
  • Take breaks to refuel. Study slowly, instead of cramming. Don’t cram a 15 page paper in 24 hours before the deadline.
  • Journal.  Journaling is a great way to process your thoughts and feelings. Creating a gratitude list in your journal to write things you are thankful for shifts your mind to think positively even during stressful times. Download the 5 MINUTE JOURNAL app.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself. Set short-term and long-term goals. Use the S.M.A.R.T. goals formula: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Reward yourself when accomplishing your goals. Download the STRIDES app to track your goals and habits. 
  • Build a social support system. Creating and maintaining contact with a small group of people you can call on for emotional support or distraction, alleviates feelings of isolation, decreases stress, and promotes overall health. Sign up for study groups to make learning social. To meet new friends, get involved in organizations/activities on campus that interest you.
  • Practice optimism and be kind to yourself.  Practice optimism, such as viewing difficulties as opportunities for personal growth. Be kind to yourself by accepting all aspects of yourself. This will help reduce depression and anxiety.
  • Take care of your personal space.  Having a comfortable, organized environment helps reduce stress and anxiety and helps you be more in control of your life. Also, take time at the end of each day to clean up and de-clutter your personal and work space.
  • Seek further help when needed.  If you are still suffering depression and anxiety, don’t hesitate to seek help from our campus counselors in Building C. Also, check out the counseling services available in the Montgomery area.

Adapted from:  Ways to Engage in Self-Care8 Quick Self-Care Strategies for College StudentsSelf Care Tips for College StudentsSelf-Care 101 

General Self Care Resources



Learning from Home


Setting Goals





Learning Space