Whether you can’t make it to campus, are working full time whilst studying or are an external student, online courses are a great way to stay on track and stay connected. However, it can be difficult to stay motivated when not in a traditional classroom environment.
Here are 10 tips for maximising your online study experience.
- Make sure you regularly back up your work
Saving your work to an external USB or an online file service such as Dropbox or Google Documents is an effective way to keep back up your work and can also allow you to access your work on a smart device such as a phone or tablet if needed.
- Have a dedicated study space
Your study space should be a calm space with no distractions. Logging off of social media or not taking your phone into your study space can also help you get into ‘study mode’ and minimise distractions. Finally, don’t study where you sleep! Try to avoid studying on your bed to ensure a clear definition between ‘study mode’ and ‘rest mode.’
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Although doing an online course can sometimes feel like a one-person job, it’s important to remember that there are resources available if you need them. Make sure you’re aware of your unit coordinators details so you can contact them if you’re struggling and receive the support you may need.
- Take part in online discussions
This is a great way to both stay connected and broaden your knowledge. Hearing other online students’ understandings of the topics may help you strengthen your own understanding. Other online students may also be struggling with the same content as you so it’s a great way to help each other out.
- Set goals for yourself
At the start of the semester set yourself goals. These could be something like a grade you’d like to achieve, wanting to complete all your weekly readings or wanting to actively participate in discussion boards all semester. Make sure to remind yourself of these goals at the start of each week or before you start an assignment to keep yourself on track.
- Stay in control of your time management
Working on your time management skills is a great stepping stone for achieving your goals. Having a calendar or diary that you can put all your assignment due dates and deadlines in is a great point of reference. Leaving yourself a note in your diary two weeks before your assignment is due also provides a reminder prior to the submission week that lets you know there is an upcoming deadline.
- Plan your days
Take 5 minutes at the start of your day to write down everything you need to accomplish. This way you know exactly what you would have liked to achieved by the end of the day. Having a list also means at the end of the day you can look back and check you have completed everything you set out to do, making it harder to forget tasks that need to be done.
- Take notes
Taking well structured, organised notes while doing your course content gives you all the key information of the unit in your own words to refer back to. For iLectures, it is a good idea to take down any extra pieces of information the lecturer says that is not in the provided material. Taking brief notes of your readings also provides you with a small summary of all the unit readings to look back on.
- Review and revise the content
Reviewing and revising your content is a great way to ensure you understand everything in the syllabus. Creating questions for yourself or producing flashcards can allow you to check you know the content and provides you with an extra study tool if your course has online tests or exams.
- Stay motivated
It’s important to ensure you remain fully committed to your online course throughout the semester. You can stay motivated and engaged by taking study breaks when you need them, rewarding yourself once you have completed a large task such as finishing an assignment, and ensuring you create a study routine that suits you and your lifestyle. The more enjoyable and stress-free your studying online experience is, the more likely you are to stick with it!
Take note of these ten tips and apply them to your online study experience for a successful and productive semester. Best of luck!
Written by public relations student Taysha Sullivan