How to Stay Focused when Taking an Online Course

An increasing number of students are choosing to take university courses online. These courses boast a number of benefits for busy students, allowing them to complete coursework in their spare time without spending the extra time commuting to and from campus.

That means you can study when it’s most convenient, whether that’s on your lunch break at work or after the children have gone to bed. However, taking an online course can also lead to its own challenges. Without a set time and place to meet for your class, it’s all too easy to put it off until the last minute. You’ll need to have a combination of motivation and self-discipline in order to make the most of your online class and keep your focus. Try utilizing the following techniques to stay on track.

Image Source: Photoxpress

Image Source: Photoxpress

Set up a designated study space

To get started, you’ll need to have a space at home without distractions. Try to avoid common areas where your friends or family will interrupt you, as well as rooms with a television or phone. Bring in all of your school supplies and customise it to make it your own inspiring study area.

Create a realistic study schedule

It’s all too common for students to be enthusiastic about their course for the first week or two, only to lose interest or feel overwhelmed as the course progresses. Try to create a study schedule that you’ll really have time for, while still meeting your other work and personal obligations. Don’t try to do too much at once.

Use a filing system and calendar to stay organized

We all have different organisational methods that work for us, so choose the one that works best for you. Do you prefer online or handwritten calendars? Sort out your class print-outs into file folders and make sure that everything you need is within reach when you sit down to study.

Enlist support from friends and family

You are more likely to follow through with an online degree program when you have the support of your friends and family. Tell others about your goals, so they can help keep you on track.

Interact with the online community

 Image Source: Tbuckley89/Wikimedia Commons

Image Source: Tbuckley89/Wikimedia Commons

Many students think that online courses are quite isolated, but with today’s sophisticated platforms you actually have many chances to interact with your fellow students and professors. You can read more about online courses to envision how this works, but it’s highly recommended to make the most of online contact to stay on track. Discuss questions and concerns you have using the online forum and set up a social network to interact with your fellow classmates. If there are any off-line events, try to attend these to forge personal relationships. This could make the course seem more “real” to you and encourage you to stay focused.

Set both short and long-term goals

Finally, keep your eyes on the prize and remember what you’re working towards. For some, this will be learning a new language while others may be pursuing a university degree. Write down your goals on post-it note sand put them in clear sight, focusing on both the big and small picture.

These tips will help you hone your study habits and stick to a schedule that best suits your personal habits and lifestyle. Keep your head in the game and visualize your final goal to make the smaller deadlines sail by with ease!

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2 Responses to “How to Stay Focused when Taking an Online Course”

  • Well said Dr. I’ll share it with someone

  • These tips sound pretty good! i find using my diary and scheduling in a fair number of hours week by week works for me. I am slow writing essays, so if i have an essay to do, i allow more time. if i am productive then i may end up with bonus time to get ahead or do something else.

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