In recent years, online education has been growing in popularity. But in the current public health context, suddenly everyone has become a distance learner.

For students accustomed to studying in a traditional classroom, online courses can present their own learning curve. The following tips will help you maintain productivity and focus to make the most of your remote learning experience.

1. Get Organized

Just as you would with a conventional class, read your syllabus and put important dates like exams on your calendar. Set aside time each week, maybe on Sunday night, to review your syllabi and make sure you’re on track to complete all your assignments. On campus, you’d probably run into fellow students outside of class and chit-chat about paper topics and due dates. Because you won’t have those casual reminders about schoolwork, it’s extra important to create a system to keep yourself on track.

2. Manage Your Time and Your Space

When you’re learning remotely, you’ll have large blocks of unstructured time between class sessions. Make that time work for you by building a regular schedule for yourself. Use a paper or online planner and block out periods of time throughout the day when you’ll focus on our coursework. Limit distractions by finding a designated study space where you won’t be tempted to check the news or work on other projects. It can be a good idea to sit down with other members of your household, who may also be working or studying remotely, and figure out a schedule that works – and preserves internet bandwidth – for everyone.

3. Visit the Virtual Library

Remember that librarians can help you find the best sources for your research – remotely. At St. Edward’s, you can access many resources from the Munday Library, which includes a portal for scheduling teleconferences with library staff.

4. Participate and Connect

Your professors still want to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to email or call them with any questions you have about your course work. And maintain interaction with your peers though Canvas, social media or other platforms the class is using. Although your class is online, you can still get the personal attention and sense of community that brought you to St. Edward’s — you just might have to be more proactive about starting the conversations.

“There are aspects of education you can’t get from just reading the text and doing the assignment,” says Ron Chatterjee MBA ’19, whose St. Edward’s coursework included online classes. “When you engage with the other people in your class, you learn different ways of thinking about a problem or troubleshooting a problem — and that interaction prepares you to work with all kinds of people when you graduate. So keep asking questions, challenge your inner assumptions, and ask for feedback in the message board or whatever platform your professor uses.”

5. Remember, Online Doesn’t Mean Easier

Remote learning comes with its own challenges. Your coursework is as rigorous as always, but you may need to be even more self-disciplined. Staying organized, keeping in contact with classmates, and managing your energy so you can focus during class sessions will give you a boost. And, if you’ve never taken a course online before, give yourself some credit for trying something new and being adaptable.

Unfiltered: Team Teaching Made Fun

Unfiltered: Team Teaching Made Fun

We asked two professors, Trish Baynham and Stephanie Martinez, to give students (and us) a peek into their daily lives and what it’s like to prepare and teach a class remotely during this challenging time. See what they shared.