Online classes are life-savers for people who work or want to take extra classes without being on campus. However, just because a class is online, doesn’t mean it will be easier. Many people find online classes to be harder because it requires more concentration and responsibility. It’s not like a campus class where you get participation points for showing up. You have to make a concerted effort to organize your time and priorities to do well in your classes. Here are some tips for taking classes online.

1. Set a Time & Stay Organized 

For campus classes, you select a time block that works with your schedule and you show up to the lecture or lab. For online classes, you get to pick when you want to study. Studying at the same time every day will help you stay on track with the class schedule and will keep you from falling behind. Setting a time to study will help you make “going to” class a habit. It’s also important to stay organized. Creating a calendar will help you visualize when assignments are due and how long you have to work on larger projects. Plus, it’s an excuse to color-code.

2. Find Your Spot 

Not only should you find time to study, but you should also find a place. The spot you study in can greatly affect your concentration, so pick somewhere that doesn’t have too many distractions. You’ll also want to be mindful of the internet connection in the spot you select. Having slow or spotty internet can make completing assignments and participating in lessons more difficult. Pick a spot where you feel comfortable, but not too comfortable that you lose focus or fall asleep. 

3. Ditch Your Phone & Browse Responsibly

Since you don’t have a teacher physically present to explain things to you, you’ll want to make sure that you pay close attention to the lectures and readings you are assigned. Having your phone out can distract you from your tasks and will make it harder for you to learn. The same goes for having other tabs open on your browser. If it doesn’t pertain to the class, close the tab. 

4. Take Notes 

During a campus lecture, it is likely that you would be taking notes during the presentation. Even though the class is at home and lectures might be recorded for you to go through repeatedly, it is still wise to take notes. Taking notes and treating the class seriously will help you stay concentrated. You can use the notes you take to quiz yourself at the end of each lesson and prepare yourself for quizzes and exams. Most importantly, the classes you are taking are for your benefit and are costing you money, so take them seriously and do your best to retain the information you learn. 

5. Get to Know Your Teacher

Throughout your semester or block, you might find yourself needing to email the professor for help or clarification. Emailing someone you don’t know very well can feel awkward, however, you can avoid feeling uncomfortable by emailing them at the beginning of the semester. Send your teacher an email when the class first starts to introduce yourself. That way, if you need to talk to them later, you’ll feel a better sense of familiarity. Getting to know your teacher can also help you build greater respect for them and what they teach. 


Taking classes online can seem daunting at first, but by creating a schedule, finding a place to study, and taking notes, you’ll get the hang of it quickly.