Distance Learning Students' Advice for Excelling in Online Classes

Posted by Rachel Cochrane on 4/1/20 10:00 AM

Online Classes Advice from DL Students

We asked Distance Learning Students what advice they had for taking online classes, here’s what they said:

Tim Osterhustimosterhus

How do you make the most of the classroom environment online?

Asking lots of questions. The chat makes it easier to ask questions or put down comments without interrupting the teacher or whoever is speaking, but they will usually still see it. I think it's good to use the chat often, but keep it class-related. Otherwise it becomes a hindrance.

Where did you study, and why?

If I ever found it difficult to study, I would study at the kitchen table in my house. For one, it felt like I should be working, being at a pseudo-desk, and for another, it's really easy to eat food and study at the same time at the table. I would also usually sit there during my classes, which gave slightly more of an educational air than lounging on my couch.

Do you have any funny stories?

Perhaps the funniest instance from when I was a DL student was in my Econ (or was it Logic?) class. This was earlier on in the semester, so I wasn't in the habit of muting my mic every time I got into class.

Now, being from Hawaii, there are certain sounds I am accustomed to hearing all the time, so much so that I don't even recognize it unless someone points it out to me. About ten minutes into class, Lovie asks, "Are those chickens?" and Professor Russell (or maybe it was Dr. Roberts) says, "Yeah, who is that?" to which I take out my earphones and realize I can hear multiple roosters screeching "errrrr eH ErR EeRrRRRrRR" from my backyard.

I then tell everyone yes, that is me. I apologize for the chickens. They are not ours; they are everywhere here in Hawaii. I then kept my mic muted at all times unless I needed to ask a question.

 

KellyFreestone-2Kelly Freestone

What helped you stay motivated with online classes?

The same thing that helps me stay motivated with in-person classes…the deadline!

More seriously, I think the lack of human interaction is what makes studying online so hard. I don’t participate very much in person, but I find online classes so much more engaging and enjoyable when I’m actually raising my hand and asking or answering questions.

Keeping in touch with friends is also a big one. I’ve been fairly regularly face timing friends after class to preserve the post-class discussion that is sometimes more meaningful than the class itself.

Do you have any recommendations for healthy study habits?

Brianna (her roommate) taught our wing this little chant from her childhood: “Work while you work, play while you play.” Make it clear to yourself and to your family what times are class/working times and what times are free times. That way you get things done but can also be fully “off” when you’re not working. Online is hard because it’s so easy to slide between class and FaceTime and paper-writing and chatting. Closing my computer after class, getting up and leaving room before trying to do (or falling into doing) anything else, helps me keep the work/play distinction.

Where did you study, and why?

I drifted between my mom’s desk in a nice, sunny spot surrounded by windows, my dad’s office, and my bedroom floor. I tend to need to physically be on top of the work that I’m doing, so a tall chair is a requirement. Sitting by windows makes me feel more like a functioning human being and gives me something beautiful to look at.

I usually like to work when it’s quiet, so I kept the doors shut, but when I got distracted by the silence, I would sometimes opened the doors to listen to the other house-noises, or even plant myself in the middle of the family commotion. It's same principle as studying in a coffee shop, I guess. Changing up room and environment between subjects helps me feel refreshed and productive.

 

Karis Churchillkarischurchill

Do you have any recommendations for healthy study habits?

I guess I have the same advice as for any student. We only have now to work with, and now matters. What we do with now is an act of worship, and that act of worship exposes our character and shapes our future. That’s true no matter where we are.

How do you make the most of the classroom environment online?

Food and water always at hand.

Spend class time looking at a pretty view, if you can find one. It saves your eyes and helps you stay off Facebook.

Online learning is a really great chance to practice careful communication. You get more time to think about what you really want to say or write.

Where did you study, and why?

I sit in a different place for each class to help me keep the classes straight in my memory.

Any tips for students moving to remote instruction who aren’t used to online classes?

The beauty and the danger of online learning is that you and your classmates have a lot more say over how good the classes will be. The online U.S. History class that I took forged a community of students who were more capable of rigorous, open-minded, and heartfelt debate than any other people I’ve known. You can grow in every way through online learning and forge lifelong friendships in the process. But you probably won’t fall into that kind of experience like you might on campus, because online learning calls for an extra measure of empathy and focus.

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