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Four tips for a successful online learning experience

Unless you’ve completely blocked out the news, you’ve probably seen that students across the country are going back to school virtually. And for some FastForward students enrolling in an upcoming program, this virtual method might be a challenging new way of learning.

As we all continue to adjust to all things digital in our daily lives and Virginia’s colleges hold off in-person learning at a full capacity for now, here are four tips for ensuring you have a successful online learning experience.   

Set yourself up with the tools needed for success.

A reliable internet connection and laptop are the essentials needed for learning remotely along with tools for virtual communication like Zoom.

“Zoom is big and all of our students have accounts,” Johanna Weiss, associate VP of academics at John Tyler shares. “It’s not just a classroom tool, students can use this to engage with classmates and study, ask questions and ‘meet’ outside of the classroom space.”

Designate a space and minimize distractions.

When studying from home, don’t let school invade your personal space. As tempting as it might be to get coursework done from the comfort of your bed, doing so could decrease productivity and even hurt your sleep.

If possible, be sure to have a dedicated space – removed from any distractions that might make focusing tough, like a shared living space or in front of the TV.

Stick to a schedule.

Many online classes provide a handful of assignments with due dates – but don’t require you to be online at specific times. Don’t procrastinate and end up having to pull an all-nighter the day before everything is due. Instead, designate a regular schedule, like Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 – 9 p.m. or whatever works best your training and your schedule.

Utilize your school’s online resources.

As a FastForward student, you have access to all the online benefits of a community college student. All of Virginia’s Community Colleges offer online tools and resources for studying remotely including library resources, tutoring, writing center support and more. Many colleges have also revamped and launched additional online resources specifically for students new to online learning during this challenging time.

If you are having trouble finding your school’s online resources, reach out to your Career Coach and if you’re having trouble with an assignment or understanding the coursework, reach out to your professor. The staff and faculty and Virginia’s Community Colleges are here to help.