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Academic Support

Tips for Online Learning

Student at laptop

While there are many benefits to taking online courses, there are also challenges.  Balancing both is key to your success as a student.  Here are some tips to help you get the most from your online courses.  It’s important to make sure you’re checking your Wright State email for communications from professors, verifying deadlines for assignments and exams, accessing Pilot, and reaching out to your professors for clarification if you need it.


Manage Your Time

Create a schedule and maintain a weekly calendar. A schedule helps provide limits and allows you to set aside uninterrupted time for coursework.

Make note of when classes are being held online.  Synchronous classes require students and instructors to be online at the same time. Lectures, discussions, and presentations occur at a designated time. In asynchronous classes, instructors provide materials, lectures, tests, and assignments that can be accessed at any time, but must be turned in by a specific deadline.  You'll need to set time aside either way, but make sure you know ahead of time the format your class is being conducted in.

Set priorities and decide how best to spend your time.  Organize according to due dates, assignments worth the most points, and topics you may need to review. 


Stay Organized

Create a workspace to help you stay organized.  It should include files, forms, syllabi, books, and assignments you may need to reference to keep you on track towards your goals. If necessary, also include a wall calendar; bulletin board, and/or a place to make large lists where you can see them.

Make sure you have:

  • A high-speed, reliable internet connection
  • Required software for the course
  • Headphones for listening to lectures and discussions (to reduce distracting noise around you)
  • Pen and paper for active note taking strategies.

Eliminate Distractions

You know the ones -- text messages, social media alerts, Netflix, background noise, and more.  If you're struggling to resist the urge to surf the web or check your email, try a website blocker like Cold Turkey or Freedom.

Improve focus by separating your schoolwork from other responsibilities.  This isn't the best time to try to multi-task.

Take breaks. Frequent, but short, study breaks will keep you fresh and avoid overload.  Set a timer to remind you to get up and stretch or grab a beverage every 20-40 minutes.


Get and stay engaged

Take active notes as you would in a traditional classroom setting.  Writing down important points will make them easier to retain.

Analyze all returned quizzes and tests, as well as any instructor feedback, and develop a plan for improvement.

Review and re-watch the video or read the chapter again -- especially if you are struggling with the material. 

Prepare as if you have to present the information you are learning. Organize information by creating charts, outlines,  or study guides. 

Create practice exams to evaluate your understanding of the material.


Take Care of Yourself

Stay healthy by eating nutritious food, getting the rest you need, and taking time to exercise.

Set goals and rewards. Keep track of your progress and reward yourself when you reach daily or weekly goals. Grab a snack.  Take an extra study break.

Stay positive and monitor your self-talk. Remember, your success has as much to do with your effort as it does your ability.


Stay Connected

Network with classmates.  Online classes may sometimes make you feel like you're learning on your own.  Build relationships with other students and stay connected through online discussion boards, virtual study groups, and video conferencing.  Your peers are likely to appreciate the chance to connect as much as you.

Reach out to your professors for clarification if you need it.

Get creative.  Wright State offers technology to help you collaborate through online communities.


Know Where To Get Help

Ask for help when you need it and know where to get it.