How to Prepare for an Online Class

Get to know how to prepare yourself for an online class with these 6 tips from setting goals to communicating with your professors.




Last Updated: January 18th, 2021

How to Prepare for an Online Class
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It is very easy to learn anything online nowadays especially when most university courses are online due to COVID-19. Join your online zoom class with a few clicks or sign up for an online class and you're ready to go. Are you ready for your online classes? Many online students fail and often drop out because they weren't ready to attend their online courses seriously. As with in-person online classes you have to be prepared in order to pass. These well curated tips will help you succeed in your online classes

1. Get a Datebook Planner or App

A datebook is anything including from a calendar to an agenda a planner or even a mobile app as long as it manages your dates. Find a datebook such as a diary or download an app which will fit into your lifestyle and accommodates all of your activities and then stick with it.

Planner for an online class

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You can get a datebook that fits in your daily lifestyle from a small one to a large one formatted with daily, weekly or monthly pages. You can also get an app which you can access it anywhere from your mobile phone to your desktop.

There are a lot of apps which can help you be prepared for your online work such as:-

  1. Weekdone which is a goal setting app and you get your weekly status reports.
  2. Pomodoro which is a pomodoro timer that allows you to complete tasks in short amounts of time.
  3. Basecamp will help you manage your online classes projects.
  4. Asana will help you track your work and manage your projects.
  5. TimeIt will help you track your time across your online classes and assignments.
  6. Evernote will help you take your online class notes, organize them and even share them.
  7. Notion is more advanced than evernote as there a lot of templates to use and create a workspace for all your notes, work, and projects.

These planners will help you manage your time before and after online classes, act as a stress reliever where you won't feel overwhelmed by a hectic schedule. These planners will also help you in improving your productivity and even have more time for your creative activities.

2. Set Smart Goals

There are two things when setting normal goals, you can either set goals which are too high and end up falling short or setting goals which are too low and end up falling short. When setting goals set SMART goals in which you are capable of doing and achieving.

Setting smart goals for an online class

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SMART goals stands for:

  • Specific - Be specific and very clear about what you want to achieve.
  • Measurable - Your goal should be measurable, there should be evidence proving tat you're making progress towards your goal.
  • Achievable - You should be able to achieve your goal within a specific time-frame.
  • Relevant - Your goal should align with your values and your long time goal for it to remain relevant.
  • Time-based - An end date on your goal will help you be motivated and help you prioritize.

Smart goals will help you organize your online classes, assignments and school projects in such a way that you will be knowing what you want to have achieved by the end of the semester. Students find the meticulous planning of SMART goals to be stifling and inflexible but by setting smart goals will help you stay motivated through your online classes hence achieving more.

Success from your smart goals will be easily noticed because your smart goals are measurable. You will have a clear idea of when you achieve your goal and whether you did so on time such as completing a certain project or research paper.

Success due to setting smart goals

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You can even set SMARTER goals where the E will stand for "Evaluate" and R for "Re-do" because they could include some errors when setting your goals. You will be more prepared for your online classes and have more direction throughout your online classes when you follow this strategy.

3. Schedule Time to Study

When you are done with setting up your planner and setting goals, schedule time for your studies. During your schedule time minimize all distractions unless someone safety is concerned and focus on your studies. If an impromptu party comes up tell your friends that you are busy that night.

To be well prepared for your online classes make sure you schedule time for your classes. To schedule your time you will need to have listed all the classes you have during the day and assign respective times. To avoid burnout, limit your study time to no more than 2 hours at any online course at one time. You can also take 5 minutes breaks in between the session.

While preparing for an online class avoid generalization, such as "study Introduction to mechanisms", instead plan and say answer ten questions in my introduction to mechanism unit. Don't miss your study time unless you're sick or have a family emergency. It should be a permanent part of your daily routine.

Scheduling time to study for an online class

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In order to meet your SMART goals, discipline is greatly required where at the end you will feel the gratification when you achieve your goals.

4. Create a Good Study Space

During an online class you will most likely be at your study space area. These long hours of your online classes can make you feel uncomfortable if your study space is not that inviting. For you to focus on your work, create a nice cozy study space for yourself with everything you need.

To make your study space comfortable you must nail the basics where you find a good desk (or table) and chair. Ensure you also have adequate lighting to avoid eye strain, gather your supplies and keep your desk organized.

To be more focused and prepared for your online class, eliminate distractions such as desk clutter, your phone, distracting noise and lastly personalize your study space where you make it yours by decorating it according to your taste and appealing to your senses.

Good study space for an online class

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Then make another study space somewhere else. It should not be exactly the same, because few of us have that kind of luxury but have in mind some other places where you can study. Research has shown that a varying study space helps people remember more because they associate the space with the learning activity.

5. Customize Your Study Desktop

Being comfortable during your online classes is a great factor in determining your success to pass an online class. If your font size is too small then you can't read the material then you won't succeed at learning in person or online. If you struggle with reading on your desktop, there will be no need of buying new glasses you will just have to adjust your font-size in settings.

Organize your files and school projects folders very well in your computer where you will be able to access them easily. You can also back them up to avoid deletion in case anything happens to your study computer and you will also be able to access them from any device including your mobile phone.

Notion app for managing online classes work


Try using software applications like notion and evernote to organize and backup your school work.

6. Communicate With Your Classmates and Professor

Communicating with your professor and classmates will help you know what are the plans and time for your next online classes which will help you remain prepared. To set short term goals such as finishing a research project you will be needed to have communicated with your professor for him/her to guide you more on the research and be more prepared for your next online class.

There are several tips for students on how to communicate properly with your professor:

  1. Know your professor's preferred channel of communication.
  2. Schedule an appointment.
  3. Introduce yourself.
  4. Be ready for a small talk.
  5. Understand the reason why you want to talk to your professor.

Student communicating with their professor

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  1. Make sure you have everything you might need with you.
  2. Remember that professor is a person too and by sometimes talking may not fix everything.

When you follow this curated tips, you will be well prepared for your online classes and excelling in them. Happy studying!


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