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How to succeed at online learning

With courses now being delivered online, it can be difficult to remain focused and minimize distractions while learning from home. Betsy Carter, assistant director for learning services, has some tips to help students succeed. 

Having an adequate workspace is the first step to success with online learning. It’s important to have a designated space to attend virtual classes and do homework.

“Find and create a workspace for yourself that has the least amount of distractions and good lighting. Set up your space with your computer, pens, notebooks, textbooks, water, etc. so that you have everything you need in your new ‘office’ and won’t have to get up,” Carter said. 

Without having to physically report to class, it can be easy to become distracted. Minimizing potential interruptions will help keep you on top of your coursework and focused on your education.

“Communicate with people at your home to let them know when you are busy, so that you can minimize those distractions. Remember to put your cellphone away so that you won’t be tempted to look at it while you work. Let screen time be your reward for finishing tasks and assignments.” 

Work can often pile up when you’re out of your regular routine. It’s more critical than ever to manage your time and set goals.

“Write down a daily routine for yourself, including times that you’ll be working at your desk and exactly what you will be working on. This consistency will help you know where to start each day and become more efficient at completing work. A daily to-do list can also be helpful for prioritizing tasks.”

It’s always important to connect with professors, but with the virtual format of classes, this may look different than usual. NDSU faculty are eager to help students succeed, so connect with them virtually. 

“If professors are offering lectures, make sure to tune in to them and take notes as you always would. Especially when we are far away, it’s really important to talk to your professor, learning assistant, teaching assistant or tutor if you aren’t understanding material or assignments. Don’t be bashful about emailing or stopping by virtual office hours.”


Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
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