Tips for Taking Classes and Studying Online at Home

Time Management:

  • Create a daily schedule; consider modelling it on your previous timetable.
  • Work in small, manageable chunks. 
  • Take breaks from the computer every 20 minutes: stretch, look out the window, walk around. 
  • Plan out all your upcoming deadlines, and work on each upcoming assignment, project, etc. in little bits each day
  • Consider keeping the same hours as you would when you’re at school.

Space Considerations:

  • Have a dedicated study space, and fill it with all the supplies you need, like a computer, paper, etc.
  • Set boundaries with anyone sharing your living space. Let them know when you’re available or not for socializing, etc. Post a copy of your schedule so everyone can see it.

Study Skills:

  • Review your course syllabus for the main theme of each lecture. 
  • When listening to an online lecture or reading online notes, connect all of the information back to the original main theme.
  • After reading a set of notes or listening to an online lecture, summarize the main points for yourself.
  • View your remote lecture in smaller chunks with breaks if it is hard to remain focused.
  • Make sure to look away from the screen periodically to avoid eye strain.
  • Write and edit your discussion forum answers in Word or Google Docs before posting so you have an opportunity to clean up errors. 

Remote Class Participation:

  • Reflect on your audience & purpose before speaking:
    • Who is your audience? 
    • What does your audience need? 
    • What information is essential?
  •  Focus on what and how the listener needs to hear the message.
  •  Define your purpose:
    • To report 
    • To ask 
    • To influence 
    • To explain
  •  Determine the expected outcome for the listener:
    • To learn
    • To answer
    • To reflect
    • To take action
  • Listening attentively:
    • Count to 3 after the talker stops speaking before starting to speak.
    • Summarize the speaker’s comments in your own words.
    • Restate a speaker’s comment in the form of a question.
    • Acknowledge the speaker’s words (do not make assumptions about feelings).

Writing emails:

  • Use simple direct sentence structure.
  • Use topic-specific vocabulary.
  • Define the vocabulary if required.


Plain Language Association International. (2020, March 19).

Plain Language Course - Province of British Columbia. (2020, March 19).

Plain Train: Plain Language Online Training. (2020, March 19).

Queen’s University, Student Academic Success Services. (2020, March 12). Online Learning.

University of Virginia, Total Advising. (2020, March 12). Distance Learning Help: Success as a Work-from-Home Student.