Strategies for Online Student Success

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By: Rita M. Rivera & Denise Carballea

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the education of students across the globe. Most students have found themselves out of the classrooms and receiving their education through virtual platforms. There have been many changes to universities’ learning modalities, specifically online learning becoming the new normal for college students.

This new model of education comes with both challenges and advantages. For example, online learning may provide students with more efficient and effective ways to connect with other students or instructors, such as with group chats, document sharing, and the implementation of video meetings.

Although adapting to a new learning modality can be challenging, there are several strategies college students can use to help them navigate e-learning. The following are some considerations that can help students succeed in their online courses.

  1. Use organizational aids. Whether you choose to use an old-fashioned planner or an online calendar, make sure to use an organizational aid that will help you set up your schedule and keep track of your assignments and due dates. If you would like to use online aids but are not familiar with online planners or calendars, try to get familiar with them before starting classes. This will help you identify which is the resource that works best for you.
  2. Identify a study space and be present in class. It can be tentative to assume that classes online are not as serious as in-person. However, it is important to give your work the amount of attention it needs. Try to find a quiet space to work so that you keep your environment free of distractors. It may also be a good idea to put your phone away while you are attending online lectures. Ultimately, you want to remain mentally engaged during your classes.
  3. Take care of both your body and mind. Remember, it is important to take time for some self-care. Take a couple of minutes out of your day to enjoy a hobby, eat a good meal, possibly practice meditation, and make sure you are obtaining restful sleep. It is imperative to remember that our brain works best when our body is feeling healthy so, although you might want to push through and complete all your course work in one sitting, it is important to take a break between classes to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  4. Ask for help. If you find yourself questioning a topic that pertains to a specific course, do not hesitate to reach out to your instructor or professor for clarification. Refer to your syllabus and contact your instructor through their listed email. On the other hand, if the question is concerning your major or program of study, feel free to contact your program director or your academic advisor for further details.
  5. Try to keep a positive attitude and stay motivated. Keep in mind that completing your online courses is preparing you for your career of choice. Each course you complete will push you one step closer to obtaining your degree and accomplishing your professional goals. Once you complete your coursework, take time to reward yourself and recognize what you have accomplished.

Across the world, many students are still adapting to online modalities. Therefore, it is okay for students to become overwhelmed or experience stress and anxiety. However, incorporating the aforementioned strategies can ease the transition to e-learning. Keeping a positive and supportive attitude can also encourage college students to have a productive and successful semester. #AlbizuStrong

This article was originally published in the Florida Psychological Association-Palm Chapter Newsletter. Rita Rivera is the Chair of the Florida Psychological Association-Graduate Students Division (FPAGS) and Denise Carballea is Student Representative for Albizu University in FPAGS.

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