Online education has been a godsend for many students who are unable to attend courses at brick-and-mortar institutions. Many students, however, find that the work environment at home isn’t as well suited for studying as the library at good old State U. Physical conditions might be distracting, the lack of a defined schedule encourages procrastination, and the computer is a minefield of unorganized files and the temptation of playing on Facebook. Here are some steps you can take to improve your chances of being head of the virtual class.
Organize your space
The basic issue for online students is that their physical environment is often distracting. It is hard to concentrate on your work when your chair hurts your back, or the light hurts your eyes, or the mess on your desk makes it impossible to find your notepad under the debris. Cleaning and optimizing your workspace will do wonders for your ability to focus. Make sure your chair is comfortable, and adjust its height and the height of your keyboard and monitor to a good height for typing. Light is key. Your room’s light needs to be bright enough to do your work, but dim enough that glare is not a distraction.
Organize your day
While some students can easily motivate themselves to work in bits and pieces throughout the day, many of us need more structure to focus. Clear your schedule as much as you can, and schedule your work periods and breaks, just as if you were at school. As an online student, you might be able to study in your pajamas and bunny slippers, but a strict schedule helps keep you on track.
Don’t forget to schedule breaks into your day. While sometimes you may get on a roll and not want to stop working, avoiding breaks will soon make you tired, grumpy and hungry. It’s more efficient to take the breaks and refresh yourself before putting your head back in those books.
Organize your computer
Remember carrying a Trapper Keeper binder in high school, with folders for each class? You should create a virtual binder for your online classwork too. Do this, and you won’t waste large portions of your study session trying to find notes or previous work.
One way to do this is just to create a collection of folders, carefully and hierarchically structured. Assign a folder to each assignment or to each day of study. Put these folders in a folder for each class, or even a folder for each week. Whichever way you organize your work, be consistent, and don’t forget to back up your files!
This article was written by the team at EIT – experts in providing distance education including PLC online courses. They provide live instructors as well.