Written by: Tony Choi
1. Get dressed and ready as if you are attending an in-person class
Even though it is convenient to attend online classes in your pajamas, spending a few minutes to get properly dressed can help put you in the right mindset for learning. Being more presentable on video can increase your confidence and lead to higher levels of engagement.
2. Place your phone out of physical reach
Placing your phone completely out of reach will help eliminate the urge to constantly check your device. If you are expecting any important calls or messages and need to check your phone during class, let your instructor know in advance.
3. Turn off all extraneous notifications on your computer
Even some of the best-focused, well-behaved students fall victim to unexpected computer notifications from time to time. Make sure to turn off all unnecessary programs on your computer that may pop up (emails, texts, messaging apps, news, etc.).
4. Take physical notes
Just because the instructor isn’t physically writing notes on a board does not mean that you shouldn’t take notes. Instead, it is even more important to take good physical notes during online classes since the instructor’s modes of delivery may be limited.
5. Find a quiet place where you can focus
Remind your family members in advance that you have online classes during certain hours and ask them to not disturb you. If you can, find a personal space in your house that you can dedicate to learning. You should avoid lounging areas such as your bed or couch.
6. Be conversational and engaged
It’s definitely not easy to socialize over video chat, but don’t let the lack of physical proximity become a barrier in building meaningful connections. Remember that your instructors and classmates are in the same situation as you, and many of them will appreciate greater communication efforts. During appropriate times, try to initiate small talk to get to know each other on a more personal level.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
One disadvantage of online classes is the difficulty of picking up on physical cues. Instructors find it harder to decipher whether or not their students are keeping up with the material, so if anything is unclear, don’t be afraid to interrupt the lesson to ask a clarifying question.
8. Budget 10 minutes before and after class
You should check that all your technology is working correctly 10 minutes before class. Once everything is set, you should review your notes from the previous lesson. Once class is over, you should spend 10 minutes planning how to execute any homework or studying you need to do before the next class. Try not to schedule important appointments right after class since online classes, just like in-person classes, can go over for a few minutes.
9. Do not procrastinate
When classes and resources seem more easily accessible online, it’s easier to procrastinate. However, instead of leaving everything until the last minute, you should try to do incremental work every day so that you have enough time to work through difficult tasks and to reach out for help if needed.
10. Stay healthy and take care of yourself
You will learn better if you’re in a good condition. Stick to a regular sleeping schedule, eat properly, get enough exercise, spend some time away from technology, hang out with friends and family, and schedule breaks for yourself. Make sure to prioritize your physical and mental health during these difficult times.