I’ve always preferred the traditional way when it came to taking classes. Going to class in person, sitting in a physical chair, talking to classmates, and watching the professor give lectures at the front of the room.
When classes switched to an all online format Spring of 2020 I had no idea how I would adapt. We weren’t given a choice and everything switched so fast it was hard to comprehend what we were getting into. I knew that with this switch it was time to find ways that would help me manage online classes.
It wasn’t that I completely hated the idea of classes being online, I just knew it would be more difficult for me. I knew I would struggle keeping up with due dates, I knew communicating with classmates would change, and most of all I knew it would be difficult for me to sit in front of a computer for hours at a time, 7 days a week.
I put together some tips to help with taking any online class.
UNDERSTAND YOUR SCHEDULE
It is so important to keep up with all of your due dates for each class. This can become very overwhelming if you don’t. The strategy that worked for me was printing all of my syllabi and going through each one and writing the assignments, exams, and any other important information down into a planner. I color coded my planner, making each class’s assignments a different color.
When classes are online the deadlines are a lot stricter than normal and you’ll see that your professors aren’t very lenient.
CHECK YOUR EMAIL
Checking your email is already super important but when you are in an online class it becomes extremely important. When you’re in an online class your professors have no other way to communicate with you except through email.
I check my school email at least three times a day to ensure if something has changed such as a class being canceled, an assignment due date being pushed, or something else important is emailed I will know about it and won’t have the extra stress of reading the email too late.
BLUE LIGHT GLASSES
I highly recommend investing in blue light glasses! I didn’t realize how bad it was to stare at a computer screen until I started getting really bad headaches from it.
I ordered these blue light glasses and I haven’t looked back since! No more headaches! And no more excuses for not being able to get my homework done haha!
I have these blue light glasses! I love them and they come in so many different colors!
Now I mentioned earlier how I have a color coded planner with all of my assignments written out for each class. Well on top of this planner I like to create “to-do” lists either on scratch notebook paper or sticky notes.. (mainly sticky notes bc I have an obsession with them).
I like to have these lists so I can put together a schedule depending on my day. I have my physical therapy, doctor’s appointments, and social events for my women’s org written in my planner but also as the days come I like it separated on a sticky note so I know I have to plan my homework assignments around the other important things in my life.
My absolute favorite planners are the happy planners! They will definitely help to keep you organized!
I know when I sit through an online class sometimes I zone out, shoot I don’t even need to zone out. Sometimes I have absolutely no idea what the professor is talking about, I can sit there with all of my attention focused and completely engaged but still be lost!
This is hard because you can’t just raise your hand to ask a question. You can chat or click the “raise hand” button on zoom but if you’re like me, I have a lot of sweet eldery professors who are not the greatest at technology so when it comes to zoom all they can do is click “start meeting.” This can become frustrating so thank goodness for office hours!
Here is where I say USE office hours! Most of the time I’ll hop on during office hours for Stats and the prof is sitting there just waiting for students to join! Office hours will become your best friend when you’re taking an online class and need help from your professor!
MANAGE YOUR HOMEWORK
To tell you the truth I am a huge procrastinator when it comes to homework, and I hate that I am! Something that I have learned over my semesters in college is that I thank myself and save so much stress when I get my assignments done early. I have several classes this semester that have assignments due Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. YUCK! WHY!? Ouch, that’s mean! Weekend homework!?
No Thanks! I try my best and I am nowhere near perfect but I try to get those assignments for those classes done earlier in the week. Nothing sucks more than having a paper due the night you have your friend group hangouts.
I realized I liked having the weekends stress free of school and think you would as well!
I know not all online classes are through zoom, especially if they are asynchronous. However, a bigger percent of classes are on zoom then not. My biggest tip for zoom is at the beginning of the semester take all of the zoom IDs and passwords if applicable and paste them into a word doc or onto a sticky note on your computer!
I can’t tell you how many times I have had to frantically search through everything to find zoom IDs before class! Some of my professors have the link on our website where we just click to join, some only have it in the syllabus, and others have emailed it the first week of school. It is so hard to find them and keep up with where they are! I recommend putting the class links, lab links, and office hour links all in one doc labeled with the class to make it easier on you!
There you have it! All the best tips that I use to manage my online classes that I know can help you too! These tips aren’t too hard, but it’s important that you do them to save stress and help to get you through the semester in your online classes!