Tips, Tricks for Success in Online Learning


Stephanie Fairchild

Students’ desk setup look very different due to learning at home and COVID-19.

By Stephanie Fairchild, Social Media Editor

Are you someone that thrives in a structured, on-campus learning environment, but is struggling to set deadlines at home and keep up with online learning?

Associate Professor of Practice Julie Cajigas has some tips on how students can boost their success in an online learning environment.

“Students should first carefully consider the options available to them,” Cajigas said.   “Synchronous options are great for students who feel that having a fixed time with live instruction will help them succeed.  Some students thrive with asynchronous online courses, which allow them to work at their own pace.”

One issue students are facing is maintaining a work and school balance.  In a typical semester, the time students can work is limited due to physically being in class.  A 15-credit schedule means about 15 hours of in-class time, plus time for studying and homework.

“With 15-credits online, students may find it attractive to fill their schedule with work hours, and many are doing so to recuperate from financial losses incurred during the early days of the pandemic,” Cajigas said.  “Students are creating unrealistic expectations of themselves by increasing their outside commitments because they don’t have a fixed schedule.”

To avoid taking on too much responsibility, online courses should be treated as if they are in person courses.

In order to do this, making your own schedule every week is crucial.  Time should be set aside for online classes just as it would be for in person courses.

“Create a schedule for yourself that includes one hour of time for every credit hour you are taking,” Cajigas said.  “Block those times off and refuse to schedule anything else during them.”

Alison Doehring, Director of ZipAssist, believes that regardless of the course delivery method, communication is the key to academic success.  Communicating with faculty, expressing when you’re feeling overwhelmed, participating in discussions with peers, or contacting student support is essential.

“Regardless of what the structure of your schedule is, don’t forget that not only do we offer academic and student support programs, there are also still fun things to do on campus,” Doehring said.  “Things might look a little different, but they’re still available.  Part of the college experience is out-of-the-classroom engagement.”

Both Cajigas and Doehring emphasized reaching out as soon as you start feeling behind or overwhelmed.  There are several support services available across campus, but if you’re unsure of where to start, reach out to your professor or ZipAssist.

“The team in ZipAssist will work with a student to troubleshoot concerns, offer suggestions, and point students in the right direction. The most important thing to know is that resources and support are available… it’s a matter of communicating what you need and seeking out the assistance,” Doehring said.