If you’re brand new to online classes, or even if you’re back after a brief pause in your education, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to studying at your own pace.  Nothing a few useful tips and planning can’t overcome! These are some of the top tips I give to the students I advise to study successfully.

Get Organized

An easy trap is to forget when assignments or exams are due as you’re trying to balance classes with home and/or work life. It’s always a great idea to compare course syllabi and schedules provided by your instructors with the Canvas calendars. This should help to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Time Management is Huge

Our online courses are just as rigorous as our main campus courses. It can be easy to procrastinate on your coursework due to the more independent nature of online learning. It’s vital to set aside time to dedicate to your reading, assignments, discussions, quizzes, and exams the same as if attending in person. You’ll be amazed at how much more manageable and beneficial online learning is with strong time management skills and a regular (as possible) schedule.

Reach Out Early and Often

Your instructor, advisor, and other academic support offices are here to help, and it is never a bother to assist you. When you are confused or unsure who to reach out to, contact your advisor or instructor, and we can help guide you. If you have questions about course content, it’s always better to talk with your instructor early in the semester so that they can provide you with tips, advice, and guidance for success.

Discover How You Learn Best

Every person learns in different ways and is most successful in various formats. Maybe you need to do your work early in the morning with a cup of coffee and no background noise. Or perhaps your best work is done in the evening with some soft music as white noise. If you can identify the time and way you learn best and are most productive, it will have exponential benefits as you go through your courses.

Change Topics and Take Breaks

This may seem a little counterintuitive considering all the things pulling on your time, but your brain can only focus on one thing for so long. Sometimes to refresh and revitalize, you need to switch subjects or step away for a few minutes. The variety will allow your brain to rest and help you come back stronger as you continue your coursework.

Participate as Much as Possible

Take full advantage of any discussion groups, forums, virtual office hours from your instructors, and any other chances to engage. By connecting with others, you will reinforce your learning while also filling in gaps from their perspectives. The more your instructor sees you actively taking ownership of your learning through engagement, the more they can assist you and guide you through the process. You’ll build camaraderie with students and instructors and get so much more out of your courses!

Take Care of Yourself

This might be one of the most important tips while also being the one you may least prioritize. Between studying, working, family, and several other things, it can be challenging to take time for yourself and focus on remaining healthy. Make sure to set aside time to focus on your health—and this doesn’t just mean exercising. Whatever you need to stay in a positive and healthy state of being: prioritize those things as well!

Remember to visit the Ball State Online blog, Facebook, and Twitter for more tips, advice, and resources.