Letters to the editor

Making online study work for you

Kirkwood Community College offers many online classes to take. The classes are guided by an instructor and hold students accountable for their work, while also making it flexible to take college classes from home or around the world. In many students’ cases these classes are being taken at home, which can be difficult for students to balance home life versus school life. 

Jennifer Fultz writes an article on the pros and cons of online learning. A big disadvantage of in-person learning that Fultz mentions is the physicality of actually being present in a building for class on time. She mentions this can be “expensive, time consuming and stressful.” While taking classes online is not for everyone, it can be a great option for many people, like myself, who are not exactly close to any Kirkwood location. 

There are a few tips on how to be successful while taking online classes and the first tip is to create a space in a bedroom or separate room where there is a desk and materials. The important part is that this space is designated for school work, so when at the space your full attention is on school and nothing more. This space should be comfortable to work in and provide study space and materials. 

Another tip is to be organized. The first thing I personally do to stay organized is create a Google Sheet with the topic (class list), assignments (title and or week of the assignment), a start date for the assignment and a due date for the assignment and a dropdown list which includes: not started, in progress and completed. This list is color-coordinated according to the class and the dates go in order for when they are due. This list stays open on the computer 24/7. Along with this list I also have a calendar that is kept up-to-date with the assignments and notes for the assignment. 

Another tip for studying online is to have a notebook to take hand notes in or brainstorm paper ideas. Writing by hand is a great way to retain the knowledge and remember it. 

Students often have a hard time focusing while in school; online classes can be even harder to get focused and maintain focus, especially when there are many other things that can be distracting like meal prepping, cleaning or taking care of animals or family. 

A very vital step to getting focused is having a quiet space. If a workspace is in a shared house this can be hard to obtain. It is best to work on assignments and tests when the house is at its quietest, either when nobody is home or at nighttime. 

Another vital step is to allow yourself time to work on schoolwork. This can mean designating days to work on school or making sure you have enough time blocked out of the day to complete assignments and stay focused. 

Another tip that may help some and not others is to play soft music in the background. Music allows the brain to stay working and can further improve memory and maximize learning. 

Every student has a different way of focusing and learning, these tips for online learning will not work for everybody. With the simple steps of creating lists and making a space that is quiet and comfortable for you along with taking notes for almost anything you can, it can make studying online feel much easier than it is. The most important part of studying online is staying organized and on top of your assignments while also allowing yourself time to rest and reset.

Emily Rundell

Journalism major