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How to Get the Most out of an Online Class

How to Get the Most out of an Online Class

Photo: Contributed

By: Jayda Lunan

Online classes are the present reality for most students – not only at NCU but also globally. Yet online learning comes with the disadvantages of having less interaction with peers and lecturers, increased distractions, high reliance on unpredictable Internet connections, and more.

“If I were to do a survey now, most persons would say online classes can become very frustrating,” said Damion Mitchell, Chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS).

He presented the following tips about how students can still thrive in the virtual classroom during the first session of the Student Success Workshop series held on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

Be Disciplined

In the virtual space, it is harder for lecturers to keep students accountable. This makes it more critical than ever before that students hold themselves accountable to discipline.

“Treat online classes with the same respect as if you were in a face to face,” Mitchell advised. With this in mind, dress properly for class and always join the session on time. Log in to class at least 5 minutes before the start time to give allowance for resolving any connectivity issues.

“If you want the most, the word “procrastination” should not be in your vocabulary,” Mitchell said. It is very important to avoid working on and submitting assignments at the ‘last minute.’ Be disciplined and stay ahead.


  • Your Workstation: The class may be virtual but you are attending it from a physical space, so organize it. Have a ‘workstation’ complete with a desk or table, comfortable chair and proper lighting. Choose an environment for classes that is away from the distractions of television, radio, social media or family disruptions. Being online should not eliminate the regular school supplies though. Use notebooks, pens, calculators and any other tool that will help you stay productive during a class.
  • Your Time: Without a routine, the flexibility of studying from home will have all your classes, personal and household tasks, and recreational activities competing to happen at the same time. For this reason, create a schedule that sets aside time for class, assignments and studying, as well as accounts for every part of your day. “A part of any study plan would be proper time management,” Mitchell said. He suggested using a calendar app, visible on the home page of your phone, to note and remind yourself of upcoming assignments and exams.

Stay Connected

 A student has to be intentional about engagement to avoid the isolation that can come with online classes. You will get much more from class by participating in discussions and asking questions in the chat or using your mic.

Outside of class, freely reach out to your instructors through phone calls, texts, and emails. Get to know your peers and build friendships by forming a study group. This study group can be the support system you use to understand concepts you may have missed in class and exchange thoughts and ideas.

Have the right Technical Resources

If you have not already, now is the time to invest in the right equipment for online classes.

The CIS Department Chair recommended getting a laptop with standard specifications (at least 8GB RAM, 2.1 GHz processor and 256GB of storage) in order to effectively function under the requirements of a full course load. This is preferable to phones, tablets or even Chrome books. 

Secure a stable Internet connection, whether through Wi-Fi or a mobile data plan and consider using cloud storage platforms, such as Google Drive, to save all your school files against the threat of laptop/hard drive crashes.

Like it or not, online classes are here to stay. By doing your part to get the most out of your online class, you will be in a position to appreciate the many benefits of e-learning and maximize your education.

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