Tips for Taking Classes Online

We advisors are available to help our students remotely! Honors students are welcome to contact me at CathyBordeau@ferris.edu. I will also soon share with you ways to fulfill your honors commitments safely.

I want to pass along as well these excellent tips on taking online classes from a professional advisor at Ferris, Dave Schrock. He synthesized them from his own experience, online sources, and Facebook crowdsourcing:

Time Management

  1. Your planner! This is needed now more than ever because your day has less built-in structure than ever. Contact me if you need some suggestions for planning methods and/or making it a habit to use it.
  2. When to do work: My former students came up with this one and I love it! Do work for your classes at the same time you would have been in that classroom anyway. Then, schedule in times during the week to work on additional assignments for each class (keeping in mind the general rule of 2 hours per 1 hour of class time).
  3. Deadlines: Put all deadlines for all class assignments into your planner. Begin working on each assignment enough ahead of time (schedule it in maybe?) so you have time to get questions answered prior to the deadline.
  4. Rewards: Crossing/deleting items off of your list is probably the best feeling ever! It’s also a good idea to schedule in something fun to do after your work is done.

Communication

  1. Check-in often: Check your FSU e-mail and your Canvas and Blackboard classes at least at the start and end of your day (if not more).
  2. Unsure? Contact the prof. asap! Some professors are more experienced than others in teaching online courses, but they all want you to understand what is expected so you have the chance to do well. Don’t hesitate to contact the professor immediately if you’re even just slightly unsure about something.

Environment

  1. Pick your “productive spot”: Find a spot where you can focus and generally be left alone. At my parent’s place – this would be a room they converted into an office. It has a door that I can shut, a nice desk to work on, and no tv in it. Any place that has a nice desk to work on is a whole lot better than a sofa and absolutely, unequivocally, objectively, 100% better than your bed…sheesh!
  2. Protect your “productive spot”: J Stress to the rest of your family that you need to be left alone when you’re working there. I’m sure they find it nice that you’re home, but remind them that you still need the time and ability to focus on your studies. Also – feel free to make me the “jerk” in this. Meaning, it might be easier to say: “My advisor said it’s really important that I’m able to make time for and focus undisturbed on my schoolwork.” If they think I’m a jerk for that? Oh well! 🙂
  3. Your sneakily distracting phone: Put your phone out of reach and/or on “Do Not Disturb” when working on class stuff.

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