Guide to studying an online course

Studying online is different than studying on campus as there are unique challenges and rewards with online courses.

Manage your time

  • Try to stick to a routine and create some structure around your working day.
  • If your online course does not have a designated synchronous session, create one for yourself in your schedule.
  • Try to wake up at a scheduled time, get dressed, and keep a regular schedule of study, meals, leisure time and wellness activities.
  • Put boundaries around work time and create balance in your schedule time for studying and time for other activities that help you relax and recharge.
  • Talk to others in your household about what your different schedules will look like.
  • Break things down into manageable steps and working on one task at a time to help you stay on track and get things done.
  • Stay on schedule to avoide have to do extra work to catch-up.
  • Space out your studying i.e. If you have 4 hours of course work, work on that material for 1-2 hours over 2-4 days instead of all 4 hours in one day.
  • Schedule your most challenging tasks at the time of day that you works best for your energy level.

Succeed in your space

  • Compile all your course materials and supplies in your study space so that you have them nearby when needed.
  • Create a designated study space separate from where you sleep or play (e.g., bed, couch).
  • Create your study environment to what you like best (i.e. seating, noise level, temperature, etc.)?
  • Leave your study area when you take a break even just for a few minutes.
  • Take a short walk to clear your head so you can go back to studying refreshed.

Actively participate

  • Find out how you can communicate with the faculty and your peers.
  • Know about designated times where the class logs in together (synchronous session).
  • Check if the instructor is hosting virtual office hours and how you can reach them.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to engage in chats, discussion groups, quizzes, or other opportunities to participate.
  • You can create online meetings and discussions with classmates to continue the conversation and work.
  • Connect with a student group early in your course to help ensure all participants have the same goals and expectations.

Get motivated

  • Reflect on why you picked this course and what you find interesting about it.
  • Use breaks and rewards as motivators such as the Pomodoro Technique.
  • Be kind to yourself and others as everyone's situation for studying and working from home will be different.
  • Your responsibilities at home, your space, and how you're feeling that day will all impact your motivation.
  • Practice empathy in working with others and engage in self-care activities.

Keep connected

  • Stay in touch with friends and family – create a plan to stay in touch if you live apart.
  • Stay socially connected with UFV and fellow students while physically apart through UFV student organizations.
  • During this period of change and adjustment, you may be experiencing many emotions. Find a trusted listener and talk it out.

Material adapted from:

University of Michigan - Adjusting your study habits during COVID

University of Virginia - Distance Learning Help: Success as a Work-from-Home Student

York University Online Study Tips

Lynn's headshot

I’ve taken online courses from other institutions, and UFV’s dedication to technologies made for my best overall online learning experience.

The most important thing about my experience at UFV is the feeling that I mattered to the school and my instructors. I wasn’t just a faceless student, even in an online environment. I also widened my perspective and learned so much from sharing through online discussion and collaboration with other students from all across Canada and other parts of the world.

  • – Lynn Cartan
  •    Adult Education, 2020 graduate

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