Learning and Study Strategies

Academic Center for Excellence

We are committed to your academic success no matter where you are. The transition to remote or online learning might feel a bit daunting if you’ve never taken a class online. However, successful online learners rely on many of the same study skills and habits that you’re already accustomed to using in in-person classes. With preparation and the right mindset, remote learning can be very rewarding.

Treat online courses like face-to-face courses.

Online courses often allow for more flexibility in terms of when and where you do the work, but the amount of work is the same as it would be for an in-person course. To be successful online, you have to be present and put in the same amount of effort. Here are some helpful habits:

  • Stay updated on your coursework.
  • Log on to Canvas and your email early and often.
  • Ask questions and provide feedback as appropriate.
  • Utilize online office hours and remote academic support just as you would on campus.
  • Build relationships with classmates and professors

Establish daily and weekly schedules.

Some of your courses may hold live sessions at your typical class time, while others may have assignments that you can do at your own pace. To stay on track, make a schedule at the beginning of the week and review it daily for any changes. The more you plan ahead, the more likely you are to stay focused, avoid procrastination and accomplish necessary tasks. Here are a few time management tips:

  • Block off time for class meetings, online assignments, course readings, watching lectures or other videos and completing other work your course requires. If you have a job or other obligations, schedule those plans in your calendar too.
  • Though paper planners work well for some people, using a calendar synced with your mobile device allows you to set reminders and alerts.
  • Even if your course does not meet at scheduled time, it may help to do coursework when you would typically meet in order to stay on track.
  • Include time on your calendar for activities that keep you mentally and physically healthy. By planning time to video chat with friends, use social media or go outside for a walk, you are less likely to get distracted during times you’ve set aside for coursework.

Identify your time bandits and plan around them.

Time bandits steal your time when you need it most. If you’ve ever picked up your phone and lost an hour on social media, you’ve met a time bandit. Time bandits often disguise themselves in appealing packages: friendly conversations, doting pets or well-meaning siblings. When everyone in your household is working from home, this can be especially challenging. Identify your own time bandits in advance and make a plan to avoid them.

Create a dedicated study space and keep it organized.

Find a quiet space without distractions and turn off your phone while working on coursework. Having a dedicated place to work will help you create a routine. This helps your brain switch into study-mode faster.

  • Make sure your study space has access to internet with the minimum bandwidth required for your classes.
  • Gather your books and materials before you start to study.
  • Have headphones handy for remote meetings or discussions.
  • Be attentive to what’s in the background of your workspace during virtual meetings.

Prepare for the unexpected.

Even with the best plan, some features may not function as planned. Create work in an offline document then upload so you have a copy. Consider downloading a course app for your device. Log in to synchronous courses earlier than the posted time should there be any disruptions in access. Notify your professor of any concerns you may have.

Ask for help if you need it.

Moving to a remote learning environment will be different for everyone. You may have learning styles or methods for self-regulated study. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need additional study skills or content support, subject tutors, Writing Center consultants and ACE staff are happy to help identify study strategies that work best for you.