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Tips for Online Learning

April 1, 2020

Nine TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL ONLINE LEARNING

While online learning has been the essence of many of Creighton University’s graduate programs since their inception, and it’s not a new concept for many of us in higher ed, even the savviest of distance learners can benefit from tips for success. Kevin Powers, PhD an Academic Success Consultant in Creighton’s School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, shared his thoughts on what you can do to benefit in a world of online learning. 

Whether you are a current student, a prospective student considering an online program or an individual trying to help others navigate our “new normal” the tips below can help you succeed:

1. Set a Schedule: Set a schedule for viewing lectures AND for studying. When possible, consider viewing lectures “live” to help keep you up to date with the material.

  • The structure that exists for a campus pathway needs to be created for online learning.
  • Consider writing down the schedule for those at home to see so they know when you are “unavailable.”

2. Find a Location: Find a place to study that is conducive to learning. Chances are, that isn’t the couch in the family room!

  • Just like walking into a classroom gets you ready to learn, you need to find a location at home that sends the same message.

3. Limit distractions to stay focused on the material: Netflix, music, dishes in the sink, laundry in the hall, toys on the floor all distract our focus.

  • Remember, many of these “other tasks” can wait – if you weren’t taking care of them while in class on campus, they can wait while you are watching lectures or studying at home!

4. Stay Connected to Classmates: Our distance students do a fantastic job of connecting remotely via online platforms. Staying connected allows you to continue to receive support, talk about the material, and study together.

5. Stay Connected to Faculty: While you cannot raise your hand in class or stop by during office hours, you can still have questions answered and meet with instructors. Communicate via email, phone, or Zoom. Send a meeting request for “face-to-face” time to discuss the material or what is on your mind.

6. Keep Pace: Remember, that our distance learning is NOT the same as what many think of as “online learning.” This is not self-paced. The pace remains the same as it always has. This is what makes points 1-5 so important!

7. Ask for Advice: For those campus students transitioning to online learning, remember that you have peers that are “old pros” at this – reach out and ask about their experience, pitfalls, suggestions, advice, etc.

8. Communicate with Others: As discussed in Orientation and Welcome Week, have frequent conversations with family or those at your home/apartment about what the program requires of you. You are “schooling from home.” With roommates, significant others, kids, etc. also potentially home, what “normally worked” previously may not anymore. Talk with those around you about how to make things work – we as faculty and staff are having to do the same thing with our roommates, significant others, kids, etc.!

9. UTILIZE RESOURCES: There are many thoughtful leadership pieces dedicated to this highly relevant topic. A few sites to consider are: