Virtual Learning Tips from Our Alumni

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Are you a student veteran struggling to succeed during the change to virtual learning? We asked our Warrior-Scholar Project alumni for their best tips on virtual learning during this pandemic, and they shared what has been working for them.

Change out of your pajamas. This will change your mindset for the day.

Set up one specific place to do classwork and log into your virtual classes. When you keep coming back to the same environment to for class and homework, your brain will automatically kick into school mode.

Test your audio before class starts. You don’t want to find out that it doesn’t work the moment you try to speak in class.

Have your books and materials accessible during virtual class, and keep water or a caffeinated beverage available so you can stay alert. Being prepared in these ways will help you stay engaged.

Always mute yourself during class if you aren’t talking. Your background noise can be distracting to your classmates.

Set up a shared study guide with other classmates to share the burden of readings and lectures. This can help you engage with your classmates in a virtual study group.

Ask your professor to set up virtual office hours for drop-in help. Or see if your professor will offer virtual one-on-one time with students as needed.

Try working with a classmate on a shared screen in Zoom. This is a great way to help each other learn and complete assignments.

Learn to time block. This will help you stay organized and help you make the most of working during specific hours.

Double check your class syllabus for updates in the class schedule and assignments. The change from in-person to virtual classes may mean a change in schedule and assignments.

Create a visual way to view your schedule and overlapping time conflicts. You may have a job outside of school hours or live with someone who has a different schedule than you do, like your spouse/partner/roommate who could have their own work or school schedules, or you might be a parent in charge of your child’s homeschool schedule. One of our alumni color-coded his wife’s work schedule, his own class schedule, and his daughter’s home school schedule on a chalkboard. Some of our other alumni prefer to use digital tools to track their schedules, like Google Calendar, iStudiez Pro, and Pocket Schedule Planner.

Create small periods of time where you know you can focus without feeling stressed. This plays off of Cal Newport’s “Work = Intensity of Focus x Time” equation, which we teach in our workshops and academic boot camps.

Stay focused by using an app that utilizes the Pomodoro Method. Our alumni really like the Forest app, which one alumna called “an emotional motivator to keep studying.”

Schedule your days to intentionally balance your obligations. One of our alumni uses early mornings, afternoon naptime, and evenings when her children are asleep to catch up on class readings and do her homework since she can predict undisturbed periods of time for focus at those intervals.

Make sure you have downtime to allow your brain to refresh and reset. Whether that’s catching up on a Netflix show, reading a book for fun, or taking a quick walk in your neighborhood, we can all benefit from a break in studying to allow our brains to recharge.

Do you need some help preparing for college or the virtual learning environment? We can help! Sign up for one of our Warrior-Scholar Project free community college success workshops or our academic boot camps to learn the skills you need to be successful in higher education.

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