Learning online has many benefits. Flexibility in where and when you learn and the ability to design your own learning space are two of them. But successful online learning requires some thought. Unlike a traditional classroom, online learning requires learners to take more ownership of what and how they learn. For many, this is a big shift and takes some adjustment. Read below for some tips on how to make the transition easier and have a successful semester.
Set Up a Designated Work Space
Where will you learn? Even if this answer may change from time to time, it’s important to set up a designated space in your home or where you plan to spend the most time.
For teens, think about a space where you are really comfortable and feel like your best self. However, distraction is a problem. Do not set up your work space near your TV or where you play video games. Your brain is already programmed in that space. Think about flexible seating options so you can mix it up through the day. If you have them accessible, hang a bulletin board or wall calendar for you to keep track of important things. Have snacks and water handy. Make it a place you really want to be every day. Check HERE for some inspiration.
Supplies to have at your work space:
- Pencils, pens, highlighter
- Notebook for notes (one for each course or one large one organized by tabs)
- Planner or calendar
- Computer or Chromebook
- Sticky notes
- Something to do that doesn’t distract you from work. A fidget spinner, jar of play dough, stress ball, or doodle pad are all great ideas.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy, and you don’t have to buy anything. Think about what you already have, and make it work for you!
Review Your CSA Schedule
It is online, and there are specific times you need to be “present” for each class. Be sure you know when and how to sign in to Google Classroom and copy and click on the URL for the Zoom session. Go to your Google calendar, and it is right there, at the right time, ready to go. Just “click it”!
It is so easy to get distracted when learning online.
StayFocused is a free Chrome extension that allows you to block certain websites, set time limits on others, and track your time. Limiting the time you spend on YouTube, Facebook, and other fun sites to 10 minutes gives you a quick brain break and then reminds you to get back to schoolwork. Make sure you have Google Chrome installed as your internet browser, and then click HERE to install. Then change your settings by clicking the icon in the upper right-hand toolbar and finding the settings link.
What other distractions do you think you need to eliminate to be successful? Make a list of possible distractions and and then brainstorm some specific ways to stay focused below.
- List possible distractions:
- List ways to stay focused:
Gather Your Technology
You don’t need much to learn online. A laptop or desktop will do. It can also be helpful to have a mouse (our wrists were not designed to use a touchpad all day every day). Using a mouse can eliminate wear and tear on your body. A printer may come in handy if you prefer to print out your assignments and write them by hand. You will also need steady WiFi.
Set up your virtual learning space (AKA your computer)
Suggested Chrome Extensions
- Grammarly (helps you correct your spelling and grammar with one click of a button)
All learners have a Google Account. This allows them access to email, Google Drive, and more. Learners will need to use Google Classroom for their school work.
Holding yourself accountable for success in online learning is important. Here are some things to think about to ensure you have lots of support for success:
- Meeting with your parent/guardian: Set a regular (weekly or monthly) meeting time to go over your grades with your parent(s)/guardian. Talk about what you are doing really well and enjoying and where you are struggling. Brainstorm ways you and your parent can work together to meet your goals.
- Meeting with your facilitator every day from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. during their “Office Hours.” Your facilitator is here to help you be successful in school and life. Make sure to reach out wherever you are struggling. They can help you brainstorm solutions and offer resources.
- Find a study buddy. There are lots of online learners just like you! Reach out to your peers in your classes to find someone to connect with.
- Reward yourself! Whether it is little rewards throughout the day (a gummy bear for every assignment completed) or big rewards (a trip for As and Bs at semester), creating a system of external rewards helps keep you focused on getting through.
- Check email and respond to each important one received.
- Check announcements. Write down things you need to do.
- Check Google Classroom for feedback and comments from your facilitators. Write down any assignments you need to redo or fix.