Last updated on November 28th, 2023.
Online classes are a great way of getting your schooling done while remaining in a safe, secure, and comfortable space at your home. However, the routine of school is challenging when you are taking online classes. Some people struggle to stay consistent with their school work and class load if they take a brutal online course.
A sample of the ten best tips for staying consistent with online classes include:
- Remembering they are “real” courses
- Holding yourself accountable
- Using time management strategies
- Staying organized
- Creating a study space
- Setting reminders
- Participating daily
- Finding a supportive network
Consider the tips in this article before you start stressing out too much. Your classes and your workload may seem unmanageable because of the papers you must complete, but it may actually be due to your complete lack of a routine. Our tips can help you succeed at any academic level. Based on research from leading sources, we have compiled some of the best strategies for those taking online classes. Read on for ten tips for staying consistent with online courses.
The Shift From In-Person to Online Classes
Now that online learning is becoming more standard and even necessary, students find online learning to be both positive and negative for their education. Still, distance learning has become more accessible as technological supports have grown.
For example, the number of post-secondary students seeking degrees through distance learning in 2019 was over 16 percent of all college students in the United States. This large number of students were participating completely online for their coursework and class attendance and prescribed collaboration with peers.
Fast forward to 2021, and the number of post-secondary students seeking degrees through the use of distance learning has skyrocketed to over five million students or more than 25% of all college students. That is a considerable jump showing that the shift from in-person learning to online classes is growing exponentially.
Because of this exponential growth in the utilization of online classes and distance learning, coping skills and consistency strategies are essential for students facing the very real challenges of learning online and from home.
What Are the Common Challenges With Taking Online Classes?
Even though there are many benefits for students who engage with online learning, there can be a uniform set of challenges that these students face. Some of the most common challenges when taking online classes include:
- Digital Literacy: If you don’t know your way around a computer or the world wide web, you may be unable to navigate the sites needed for your online learning.
Digital literacy is just as critical as reading literacy because, without it, you cannot find the sites and spaces online and interact with the material you need. Digital literacy courses may be a fundamental step you should take in your online educational pathway.
- Tech Issues: If you don’t have the best computer or your internet signal is weak and spotty, your technical issue could get in the way of your online education. This issue causes you to miss class, makes it hard for you to hear the class sessions, and makes downloading important materials more problematic.
- Managing your time: When you take online classes, you are confined to the walls of the classroom. Because of this, students could get easily distracted and not manage their time well. This means that students don’t give themselves the time and space they need for proper learning and completion of assignments to take place.
- Staying motivated: Many times in class, a teacher is able to come up to you and keep you motivated if you lose interest, are struggling, or are simply distracted. This is not the case with online learning. You must be a student who is self-motivated and who asks for help when you need it.
If you don’t address the common problems associated with distance learning, you could be in a world of trouble. Make sure you have a plan for each of these problems, should they arise.
How Do You Stay Consistent with Online Classes?
Staying consistent with your online classes is all about planning and motivation – giving yourself the time and space you need for tasks to make learning easier on yourself. Thinking about the online class as an obligation is important for staying consistent with your online classes.
10 Tips for Staying Consistent with Online Classes
Staying consistent with online classes is easier than you think. Simply use these ten easy tips, and you should be well on your way to earning the grade and passing your distance learning classes with a great education.
Remembering They Are "Real" Courses
This is the number one thing you can do for your motivation and staying consistent with online classes. If you come into an online class thinking that it is not important, you will not take it seriously. And when things get tough, you will either give up or ignore your tasks.
Having the right mindset for online learning is essential. Thinking about the classes as real courses with the same weight and importance as classes in brick-and-mortar buildings will help you prioritize your time and stay positive with your workload.
Holding Yourself Accountable
Holding yourself accountable means:
- Making goals
- Setting deadlines
- Then meeting those goals and deadlines
Without accountability, your work becomes a little less meaningful. Workloads without accountability:
- Have a tendency to get put off
- Become less important
- Eventually, they never get completed
To hold yourself accountable, write down your goals and post them somewhere where you will see them, such as in a mirror or refrigerator. Writing your goals down and reviewing them constantly helps keep your class load in focus and supports your consistency.
Using Time Management Strategies
When you take online classes, it might seem like you have a lot more time. However, your time is just less structured than if you were going to a physical classroom. Sure, you are saving time in commuting and walking to your classroom, but the timeframe of working, studying, and completing homework and projects might become askew.
Misjudging the time it takes for task completion is common for online learning. A tip for time management is to take small breaks and give yourself a rest, set goals, and plan ahead.
Organization is crucial for distance learning because everything is done online without much teacher oversight. You won’t be getting any handouts, and the teacher won’t have a visual inspection of your organization. So, it would be best if you keep yourself and your work organized. This means that you must be your own worst critic and keep tabs on your organizational skills consistently. Setting up weekly checks for yourself is a great practice that keeps you thinking about what is due and where you can find directions for work.
Since most work is digital, creating digital folders and backing everything up on a cloud storage service such as Google Drive™ or One Drive by Microsoft™ is ideal. Organizing your work in folders by class and unit is a great way of keeping your tasks visible and under control.
Also, visualizing due dates is a great part of being organized. Finally, you might want to organize information about who to contact if you:
- Have tech issues
- Need the homework
- Are confused about a problem
- Have a question about the course content
Create a Study Space
Since you are at home while learning, this is the perfect time for creating that relaxing and focused study space. Ideally, you should have your own room or at least a quiet and peaceful space where you can’t hear others while you’re on your computer and can do some quiet studying or typing.
Your study space might also include some comfortable things like:
- Serenity candles
- Calming lights
- A fan
All of these things can make studying more enjoyable and give you a calm place to disconnect from other things in your life, and help you focus on your schoolwork online.
When due dates, meetings, or other important events are coming up, it is best to set reminders for yourself. Some great places for reminders are on:
- Your phone alarm
- Digital calendars
- Paper calendars on your study space wall
- Sticky notes around your home or in your car
Reminders help you stay on task, even when you’re not around your study space.
Distractions are plentiful when learning from home. Everything from pets to siblings to your bed that you don’t want to get out of can be distracting away from your online learning. This is where some self-restraint comes into play.
However, if you find that the distractions are too much or that you can’t escape them, it may be time to move your study space.
Understand Your Best and Worst Learning Skills
Understanding who you are as a learner is critical for successful distance learning. If you identify your weaknesses, you should be better adapted at seeking out support for things you know you will struggle with.
Similarly, if there are things you know you are good at, you can better plan for your study schedule around these tasks and give yourself more time for things that you struggle with.
Teachers love seeing faces in your video classrooms and hearing student voices. The distance of the internet is difficult for everyone, so participating in your virtual classroom daily helps your teacher put a name to a face and humanize you a little more. It also gives you more of a connection to the people in your class and helps break the ice so that things are more fun and enjoyable.
Find a Supportive Network
Finding peers and tutors for help is a great way of not giving up on your distance learning adventure. Staying consistent with online classes means being successful with the work you are given by understanding and producing in a timely manner.
The best online students seek out help when they need it and communicate with peers for clarification.
Finding a supportive network can be done by:
- Reaching out through chats during class
- Joining the class email list
- Simply asking people for their contact information for study groups or homework buddies
The world of education is being turned upside down with the proliferation of online learning. If you think that you may struggle with distance learning, don’t give up on it. Instead, give these tips for staying consistent with online classes a try, and you might surprise yourself with your educational success!