With the onset of the COVID pandemic, the world of online learning has taken off. For better or for worse, the only means for teachers and students to engage with one another in this environment is through online learning. Although certainly not perfect, this medium allows for continued access to education for millions of students around the world.

As we head into the closing months of the semester and then the subsequent school year, we believe that having an understanding of how to engage with online learning is an important skill students should develop, as this form of learning is here to stay in some form or fashion.

To make the most of online learning, we have compiled a list of recommended steps that students can take to make the most of the experience.

  1. Focus On Your Online Class or Lecture
    • There are already so many distractions when it comes to using technology, such as having multiple tabs open at any given tab which can distract us. What is more, some of these tabs tend to be social media (i.e. FB, Twitter, etc.) that lure you in.
    • As a best practice, we recommend closing all extra tabs as well as putting aside your phone when taking part in online classes. This way, your undivided attention will be on the class.
  1. Get Organized
    • Doing schoolwork digitally is no different than doing it in a notebook. Just as you would have a physical folder and notebooks for your classes, you should do the same digitally
    • Set up different folders for your classes and then create sub-folders for different units or perhaps by category (i.e. tests, projects, homework, etc.) Be sure to save all your files in these folders. Additionally, just as you may lose your folder, there is a risk of a file being damaged, so we recommend keeping backup on a hard drive or in the cloud (i.e. Dropbox).
  1. Ask Questions
    • When going through classes or lectures, always write down questions. If there is time to ask questions at the end of class, make sure to jump in. Otherwise, reach out to your teacher separately or attend office hours to ask your questions. Having your questions answered is necessary to make sure you do not fall behind, especially when the learning is taking place online and the instructor cannot as readily assess your understanding as he or she can in a physical class.
  1. Engage with the Community
    • Staying engaged is key. It helps you develop a sense of community and stay in the loop. That way, you will have the latest information. For instance, by engaging in discussion forums, you will be able to see the questions others are asking and any important material about upcoming tests or assignments.
  1. Review Lecture Notes Before Class
    • Going into each class prepared will help you follow and process the material being taught more efficiently. You will already have a sense of what you are going to learn and know what to expect from the class. Thus, you are in a sound position entering the class and able to really use the class to capture information in areas you may be lacking or ask your questions.