Top 5 Student-to-Student Tips for Online Learning

By DeVry University

Tips from students on how to navigate your new at-home work or study space

It's times like these that we are challenged to adapt. Whether that means working from home, figuring out daycare solutions, attending college online or all the above, many of us have been surprisingly tasked to tap into our creative side and make the most of our situations. Thankfully, we are not traversing these uncertain times alone.

This is why DeVry University surveyed 3,987 of our online students in March 2020 to get an idea of what they’re doing that may have proven successful. From finding work-life balance to embracing a new sense of flexibility, these students provided their best practices, tools and resources for online learners that we are excited to share with you.

Here are five tips for online learning to help you optimize your online learning experience at home or wherever you are:

1. Manage Your Schedule.

A routine, while restricted, can also be freeing. It allows you to create set times to work and in the same vain, a set time to "play." Setting these boundaries with yourself and with your friends and family will create predefined expectations to help you focus on your online learning. USAToday.com suggests to even continue to follow your morning routine and to not let the little things slide, or the big ones will follow.

Additionally, some student tips echo the sentiment to maintain a daily schedule. Jacinto G., Bachelor’s in Multimedia Design & Development suggests, "Set a schedule in which you can do your classwork every day. Treat it like an in-person class where routine helps. As soon as you feel lost email your professor or go to the Q&A section. Don't procrastinate until Saturday for projects or you will feel overwhelmed."

2. Utilize Resources – Ask Questions.

According to Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy asking good questions is central to learning and sometimes can be more important than getting the answers.

Niyonda T., Bachelor's in Technical Management with a concentration in Human Resource Management suggests one of the important reasons to attend online sessions is that it presents, "…the opportunity to get to know the professor, ask questions and network with other students."

Patricia T., Master's in Project Management adds, "Work with your professor, stay in contact and let them know if issues arise. They are truly there to help you. If you don't understand something speak up." It's also important to be mindful of resources to be available to students.

3. Focus – Complete Assignments.

Focusing can sometimes be easier said than done. This is why student tips one and four work together to help you create a time and space for you to get through your assignments.

Milton C., Bachelor's in Technical Management, General Technical Specialty, finds that it’s helpful to, "Always post in your discussions on the very first day, doing so allows you to get the week started off on a good note and allows classmates to respond to you, and [secondly] you now have the opportunity to finish your posting requirements by the middle of the week in some cases. Thirdly, try your best to do your work when you are refreshed from a good nap, or once you've awakened from a good sleep."

4. Create a Good Workspace.

Just as you would have a dedicated space to study at school or to work in your office, it’s important to create a space solely for studying at home. Medium.com finds that having designated areas helps maintain normalcy along with creating a strict divide between our work life and our home life.

To create an effective workspace, experienced online learners we surveyed cited the following as the most important tools, technologies, equipment and resources to be the most helpful in transitioning to online learning:

  1. Laptop, Monitor and Desktop
  2. Headphones and Headset, like AirPods®
  3. Microphone
  4. Calendar

5. Be Disciplined.

Once you have a dedicated workspace, a set schedule and the right focus, it's time to test your discipline. Louis B., Bachelor's in Management, Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship finds that it helps to, "Pace yourself, make sure your posts are complete, [and] set an alert in your phone to make sure you turn your assignment in on time."

Stephanie R., Bachelor's in Business Administration, Human Resource Management adds, "1. Write down all your assignments each week, 2. set aside time dedicated to getting work done - and have goals set in that time [and] 3. put your phone out of reach."

Practicing these tips may make the transition to remote learning easier. Just as you may reward yourself after class by hanging out with your peers, don't forget to reward yourself for the focus and determination you’re putting into your coursework at home. We hope these student tips from our students help!

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AirPods® is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc. Reference in this publication to any specific commercial product, process or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for general information purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation or certification of any kind by DeVry University.

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