How to Stay Present in Your Online Classes

By Alyssa Laffitte on October 22, 2020

Many schools and colleges have switched to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This switch can be difficult for students since online classes require an extra level of focus and self-motivation. It’s all too tempting for students to get distracted during online classes since you will be on the computer and have access to the Internet. In this article, we’ll discuss ways to stay present in your online classes.

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Don’t allow yourself to go on other websites while class is going on

When your class is on the computer, it’s easy to get distracted and log on to other websites rather than pay attention to your class. It’s also easy to pick up your phone and go online there. A good rule to have for yourself is to not go on any other websites during class time. Don’t let yourself go on social media, chat rooms, news websites, your email, or anything else. When you give yourself this rule, you will make it easier for yourself to stay present in your online class.

Take notes

Another way to stay present in your online classes is to take notes. When you’re concentrating on taking notes, you will not be distracted by other things, like social media. Instead, you will be listening to what your professor is saying and writing it down. This will keep you focused on the class because you can’t take notes if you’re not listening to what the professor is saying. Plus, when it comes time to study for a test, you will be grateful you have all these notes to study from! Taking notes is a great way to make sure you stay present in your online classes.

Make it your goal to ask at least one question

Just like taking notes, asking questions will also help you stay focused on your online class. Asking questions is a good sign that you’re engaging with the material and you’re actively learning, rather than just passively listening to your professor talk. One way to keep yourself focused and to make sure you’re learning actively is set a goal for yourself to ask at least one question during every class session. This strategy works because you need to pay attention to the class to come up with a good question to ask! Challenging yourself to ask at least one question during each class session will help you stay present in your online class.

Set up a workspace and take your classes only from there

With online classes, it’s tempting to wake up two minutes before class starts and log on from your bed, while you’re still in your pajamas. However, this is not setting you up for a productive learning experience. Instead, set up a designated workspace and take your classes only from there. Keep everything you need for your classes (like a computer charger, notebooks, and pens) in this space. Physically moving from your bed to your workspace will create a clear divide between resting time and focus time. This will signal to your brain that it’s time to focus, rather than sleep. When you set up a designated workspace for your online school and only do your work from there, you will have an easier time staying present in the class.

Remove any distractions from your workspace

Now that you’ve set up your workspace, you need to make it a distraction-free place. When you have many technological devices in your room, it’s easy for you to get distracted by them when you’re in your online class. It’s so easy to simply play games on your tablet or phone instead of paying attention to your online class (especially if a notification pops up on one of your devices!). To make it easier for you to focus during your classes, you should remove any distractions from your workspace. In other words, leave your devices charging in a different room. When you remove these distractions, you’ll have an easier time focusing on your online class.

Get dressed for class

As I’ve said before, it’s tempting to take your online class from your bed while you’re still in your pajamas. But just like physically moving from one location to another helps “flip the switch” between rest and work time, getting dressed will also help “flip this switch”. Changing out of your pajamas and into actual clothes will tell your brain that it’s not sleep time anymore; it’s time to focus. Of course, you don’t need to “dress up” for your online class, but simply changing into clothes that are not PJs will make a world of a difference. You will be more ready to focus and to take on your online class if you dress the part.

Clearly, there are many strategies you can use to help you stay present in your online classes. If you stay focused, you can learn a lot, even if your classes are on the computer.

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