5 Tips to Be Successful as an Online Student
An average 3-credit course requires you to study about 10 hours per week. Science and math courses will generally take more time, not only because they are often 4-credit courses, but also due to the nature of the material you are studying. Plan around 15 hours (or more) for these classes per week.
Determine from hour to hour what you are going to spend your time on each day. Check the schedules for each of your classes on Blackboard frequently. As we are transitioning to remote instruction, deadlines may change. Here’s how you can create your daily schedule:
- First decide which hours of each day you will dedicate to your college career (this is a full time job when you take 12-15 credits) – Outlook Calendar is recommended and available to all UND students. The advantage is that you create “New Events” to dedicate study time to different courses. You can customize your planning by using different colors (“Categorize”) to make differences visible - i.e. you can color your exams all in yellow and assignment due dates in orange, repeat sessions, and receive reminders. You can access Outlook Calendar at the bottom of your email window under your folders, the second icon. Make it a habit to have your calendar open right away in the morning when you start up your computer.
- For each course, start with your next exam, put the deadline on your calendar, do the same for quizzes, homework, discussion forums, and other assignments.
- Then divide up the materials you need to study for each assignment and exam from today’s date until the exam, leaving room for review.
- Plan your study activities by designating specific hours of the day to specific study activities (i.e. study pages 64-80 for PSYC 111 from 9:00 to 10:00 am, write outline for ENGL 130 paper from 10:00-10:30 am, review chapters 8 & 9 from 10:30 to 11:30 am, start the day with your most challenging tasks first.
- After a study session of about 30 minutes plan for a 5 minute break, after a study session of 50 minutes to an hour plan for a 10 minute break to keep a productive mind.
- Be sure to leave some time for flexibility in your schedule for those instances where life happens, like you might fall sick, a relative may need you, or an other unforeseen event might pop up.
This kind of planning helps you create those much needed study habits and once it is on your calendar, all you do is follow your plan. The decision has already been made! The benefit of this calendar is that it shows you how much time is actually involved with each task. Postponing a task now becomes harder as you can see right away that you may not have time enough to do it tomorrow or later in the week when you put it off for today.
Be sure to communicate with your instructor regarding what is needed to be successful in your course.
This should be located in a separate area where you will be able to focus and experience the least distraction, much like you are going to the office to work. Again being a college student with 12-15 credits is a full-time workweek.
Make use of all the course materials and resources available to you to get a thorough understanding of the subjects you are studying.
5 Tips to Stay Motivated
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Determine why you are enrolled at UND and in this particular program, what is your expected graduation date, your GPA goal, your semester goal for each class? Remembering your goals will help you persevere when you feel that you have started to lose your motivation. It is important to write them down and place them somewhere you will frequently see them.
Depending on your attention span, your study sessions may last anywhere from 30 (or less) to 50 minutes. After each session take a break ranging from 5 to 10 minutes and get up, stretch a little, get something to drink, send a text to a friend and then get back to your desk for your next session.
After each study session, an effort of doing something that is challenging to you. Decide on treats for achievements (hot bath, face mask, go fishing, go rollerblading, call a friend, light a candle, pet the dog, bake cookies, make a jig saw puzzle, etc.). According to Gretchen Rubin, “When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and content, which in turn boosts self-command. When we don’t get any treats, we feel depleted, resentful, and angry, and we feel justified in self-indulgence.”
Yes!!! – you completed your planned hours of study time, you completed your quiz successfully, you are all caught up for the week, etc. Take a moment to actually acknowledge your accomplishment and check in with yourself to register how that makes you feel. You can put bigger rewards in place here.
Of all the areas studied in the relatively young field of positive psychology, gratitude has perhaps the widest body of research. Grateful people have been shown to have greater levels of positive affect, a greater sense of belonging, and lower levels of depression and stress (The Pursuit of Happiness, n.d.).
Meet with a Learning Specialist
If you would like to discuss beneficial study strategies to help you achieve your academic goals, you are welcome to schedule an appointment with a Learning Specialist using the Starfish button below. We can meet via phone or via Zoom depending on your preferences.
Effective Study Strategies
Scan through the chapter to get a big picture idea of what you are going to learn about and pay attention to:
- Bold words
- Italicized words
- Graphs & pictures
- 10 - 15 minutes
Go to class and take handwritten and meaningful notes:
- Get answers & ask questions
- Multitasking is a myth
- Going to class can make a difference of a letter grade or two
Review your notes:
- As soon after class as you can
- Add missing information
- Make sure your notes still make sense when you get closer to the test
- Write down any questions you have
- 10 - 15 minutes
- Remember your goals, and set smaller (sub-)goals for each study session
- Use your planner and start early
- Repetition is key
- Ask why, how, and what-if questions
- Connect what you are learning to things you already know
- Plan for breaks
- 30 - 50 minutes daily for each course you are taking
Periodically perform reality checks:
- Name examples
- Write down everything you know about the concept
- Do you understand the material enough to teach others?
- 20 - 30 minutes
Your road to your desired grade!