College of Education > Student Resources > Academic Success Center > Online Learning Resources

Online Learning Resources

​​​The Academic Success Center has put together a few articles to assist you as you enter the online classroom. 

  1. Get your computer ready.
    Make sure that you have updated your computer’s operating system and applications and that it can handle the demands that will be required of it during your online course. Do this now so that if you need to make changes prior to the start of the quarter you have time to do so. Consider what back-up resources you have on hand if your computer were to go down during the quarter.

  2. Get your environment ready.
    Set up a dedicated learning space for studying. While it may be enticing to attend class in your pajamas on the couch, having a quiet environment with limited distractions and plenty of space for books, notebooks, etc. will help you focus on the task at hand. Whether you have an entire office or just a desk in your living room, make sure it is stocked with everything you need and is available to you at all times. If you are in a shared-space living situation, consider purchasing headphones so that you can hear the videos, lectures and discussions no matter what noise may be happening around you.

  3. Get your support system ready.
    Talk to those close to you about your needs while taking online classes. Many people think that online courses are “easier” than in-person classes. In reality, they require students to be especially focused and self-motivated. Make sure they understand the kind of commitment you are making and that you may not be available around the clock.

  4. Get to know D2L.
    If you haven’t used it for a prior course, visit D2L to learn about the online course management system. If your instructors have activated them, log in to your courses and familiarize yourself with the set up.

  5. Get your calendar ready.
    Whether an actual physical calendar or a digital planner, find a time management system that works for you. Begin by listing the start and end dates of the term. When you receive your syllabus, add the due dates for all assignments. Consider creating a daily schedule that will allow you to dedicate the time necessary per week to your classwork.

  6. Breathe.
    While this all may seem overwhelming right now, we know you can do it.
  1. Manage Your Time.
    • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Wake up at the same time every day, shower, get dressed and eat breakfast. Look at your calendar and prepare for the day. This may sound simple, but it’s easy to get lax and distracted during stressful times.
    • Review all of your courses on D2L and note when you are required to be online. Put these times in the calendar and set reminders and Zoom links on your computer or phone.
    • Review all of your syllabi and make a master calendar. Include all due dates: tests, papers, discussion board entries and responses.
    • Make to-do lists for the day. Prioritize your lists using A for most important, B, and C for least important. Focus on finishing the items on your A-list first.
    • Time your breaks. Set a timer. For every hour, give yourself 10-15 minutes to get up and stretch, change a load in the laundry, etc. Timing these breaks is important so that 10 minutes doesn’t turn in to the rest of your designated study period.
    • Be realistic about reading. Not all textbooks are the same. For some texts, you may be able to read 40 pages in an hour and for other more difficult reading, four pages of text an hour. Time yourself while reading for 20 minutes and in the front cover of each text, note how many pages can be realistically read in 20 minutes. This will help you structure the time needed for each reading assignment.
    • Carve out chunks of time. Think about what time of day you have the most energy and sufficient privacy and schedule at least 4-6 hours a day to work on your online courses. If possible, try to be consistent with this time as the structure will help with motivation and productivity.

  2. Stay Focused.
    • Find a space that is yours. Stay at your desk or workstation. Wherever you have decided to do your work, make that your spot for working and stay put while working. Stock your spot with what you need.
    • Avoid multitasking. If you’re doing more work on your own and your time is less structured, you might be more tempted to multitask. Many people think they can do multiple things at once but research shows that only about 2% of the population can multitask. Even if you feel like you’re multitasking, you’re probably not…really, you’re switching between tasks very quickly (some call this “micro-tasking”). When you multitask, assignments take longer, you are more likely to make mistakes and you remember less.
    • Limit your availability. Let family and friends know that you are not available during study times. Put “Do not Disturb” on your phone. Shut off social media.
    • Eliminate other online distractions. There are many apps that can help you focus by preventing browsing. If you tend to get distracted easily online, check out Self ControlCold TurkeyStay Focusd and Strict Work Flow.
    • Take notes. Taking notes not only helps you to stay focused but also increases your memory of the material. Research has proven that handwritten notes are better for learning material than are typed notes. But if you cannot read your handwriting, typing your notes is still effective.
    • Watch recordings at normal speed. Research shows that playback speed of 1.5x can lower your retention and can result in lower scores on assessments.
    • Buffering. Some people (not all) focus better while doing another activity such as doodling or using a fidget spinner. Many people find that listening to music is the best way to boost their focus. In a noisy household, music or another background noise may actually quiet other more compelling distractions.

  3. Keep Connected.
    • Stay connected to other people. Plan time to remotely connect with friends through FaceTime, Zoom, or other apps.
    • Be in contact with your professors and fellow students. Attend virtual office hours. Get to know your classmates through the discussion board, group projects and the class list. Set up chat rooms or a Zoom meeting for group study.
    • Make a virtual appointment with your academic advisor.

  4. Manage Stress.
    • Accept imperfection. While your college experience is a positive time, it can also come with stress: juggling many demands and working in a format that is unfamiliar. Be gentle on yourself, with your family, classmates and instructors. Do your best, and know your best is enough.
    • Get enough sleep. We are more positive and less reactive when we’ve gotten enough shut-eye.
    • Exercise regularly. Physical activity is a great stress reliever. It doesn’t matter how you exercise, as long as you do it regularly. Even doing a set of push-ups or going for a quick walk around the block can clear your head and put things in perspective.
    • Make time for yourself. It’s important to set some aside time for you to do something for your own pleasure. If you don’t recharge the batteries, you will burn out.
    • Treat anxiety and depression. Untreated, these conditions may make your emotional control worse, so it is smart to address these professionally. If needed, contact DePaul’s Counseling Center for an assessment and an appointment with a therapist.
    • Practice mindfulness. Remind yourself that, no matter how strong the emotion you are feeling, it will pass. Pause, take a deep breath, acknowledge your thoughts, and return to the task at hand. There are many free meditation apps you may want to try such as: HeadspaceCalmInsight Timer and more.
    • Don’t take things personally. As much as we like to think that we’re justified in our feelings, there are times when we react to someone for reasons that have little to do with that person.

  5. Take Advantage of Available Resources.

You've had years to learn how to behave in a face-to-face classroom but what about an online classroom? Here are five easy-to-follow rules to ensure you are making the best virtual impression.

  • Clothing is NOT optional.
    Remember that even though you may be alone at home, your professor and classmates can see you! While attending class in your pajama bottoms is a tempting option, you'll want to make sure that you are presenting yourself in the best possible light—at least from the waist up. Put on a clean shirt. Run a brush through your hair. Brush your teeth and put on, they can't smell you through the screen but that is just good common hygiene.

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
    Your professor and classmates can also see behind you. Make sure that there is nothing in the background (traffic, other people, a pile of laundry) that may distract from the class. While it is not necessarily the best choice to attend class from your messy bedroom, it may be the only place you can find peace and quiet away from roommates or family members. If that is the case, you can employ virtual background to hide what you don't want seen.

  • Mute is your friend.
    Once you log in to the virtual classroom, be sure to mute your microphone (lower left-hand corner). This will help to eliminate background noise that could distract others.

  • Raise your hand and wait to be called upon.
    If you wish to speak, either physically raise your hand or use the "Raise Hand" button at the center of the bottom of your screen. Once the instructor calls on you, unmute yourself and begin speaking. When you have finished speaking, indicate you are done by saying something like "that's all" or "thank you" and then mute your microphone again.

  • If you don't have anything nice to say...
    The Zoom chat feature is a tool to make comments and ask questions without interrupting the speaker but be aware that your comments are public and are recorded in the minutes of the session. As you most likely learned in your first face-to-face classroom back in kindergarten, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

DePaul Colleg​e of Education Student-Created Resources

Study Skills Webinars (by Megan Buoniconti)

Developing a Growth Mindset (by Rosanna Suh)