The Clipper’s Declassified Online School Survival Guide

Clipper staff members share their favorite tips and tricks on how to succeed in remote learning.

School is much different than years past, and with the confirmation that EvCC is going to continue remote learning until at least spring, students are finding they need to adjust how they study and learn. 

Online classes can be tricky, and there is no shame in relying on advice from peers and friends to get through this year and make the most out of online school. To get you started as you put together your makeshift classrooms and dive into the world of virtual lectures and awkward Canvas discussion groups, The Clipper staff has put together a list of tips to help you survive.

Courtesy Photo by Jaymz Kennedy

Create a Schedule. This one seems like a no-brainer, but it can be quite difficult to actually sit down and plan out your week. Our new Managing Editor of Content Sydney Jackson says, “It is much easier to procrastinate with online classes, so if you struggle with this it is essential to create a schedule that prioritizes schoolwork time without distractions.” We suggest that you treat school at home like how you would in-person classes. This means setting aside blocks of time each day to give all of your focus to a certain class and giving yourself deadlines. 

Understand All Teachers use Canvas Differently. Figuring out how your classes are structured in Canvas can be daunting. Some teachers have everything listed in one module for the entire week. Other teachers spread out the content through different platforms and online textbooks. Clipper editor Rick Sinnett suggests taking “the first day of class to find every nook and cranny where they can stash info.” You don’t want to be left scrambling searching on Canvas when your teacher mentions content you haven’t glanced at yet. Rick also suggests taking it upon yourself to add to the Canvas calendar so you are aware of all upcoming assignments and deadlines.

Go to the Grades Section. Sometimes you completely miss an assignment on Canvas. We get it. It happens. That’s why our Editor-in-Chief Nichole Bascue says to “go to the grades section of your class in Canvas and you’ll never miss [an assignment]. From there it’s all in one location with the due dates and direct links to the work.” 

Do a Bit of Each Class, Everyday. Checking tasks off your list is oh-so-satisfying, so The Clipper Art Director Logan Maruszak suggests “doing a little bit of each class every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a single chapter, it’s something checked off for the current week.” This tactic ensures that you are allocating time for each of your classes, and also gives the satisfaction of ticking things off your list each day. Nichole suggests that if stress is getting the best of you, “make a ‘done list’ which is the opposite of a ‘to-do list.’ You write down all the things you’ve already done and check them off. This reminds you of all the hard work you’ve already accomplished. You are your harshest critic, so give yourself credit where credit is due!”

Courtesy photo by Jaymz Kennedy

Take Notes! The Clipper staff can not stress this point enough. To make your time in Zoom class count and to retain information, detailed, organized note-taking is essential. If you only do one thing from this list, it should be this one! Whether you type the notes or handwrite them, putting your thoughts down and recognizing the important points of a lecture or chapter from the textbook is going to help the information stick in your brain and prepare you for future assignments and tests.

Use the Internet. Sometimes you just need a supplemental video or two to get that pesky math concept pinned down. Staff writer Kyle Ogle says, “Some strategies are confusing and don’t make sense, but the whole quarter is online; someone somewhere has taken the class you’re taking and has a different way of explaining a confusing math concept!” Find out how you learn best. If Zoom lectures go in one ear and out the other, head to Youtube to get some visual help.

Kick that Procrastination Habit. We know, easier said than done, but procrastination with online learning can be the downfall of even the best students. To prevent Sunday night panic mode, staff writer Matthew Dollison says to set daily goals for yourself and break up larger assignments into smaller tasks. He says that “having daily tasks allows you to divide up your workload, but it also stops you from procrastinating until right before the assignment is due.” 

Take Breaks. One last tip that The Clipper team all adamantly agrees upon is making sure to take breaks from the study grind. Logan says, “Don’t be afraid to take a break for an hour or so to clear your head. Taking some literal steps away from the computer is definitely a good thing.” Use these breaks to grab a snack, drink some water, or do a quick workout. Sydney also stresses the importance of centering yourself after hours on the computer, “Prioritize your health, meditate, find some commitments you can say no to and give yourself room in your own life.”

College already is difficult. Combined with a pandemic and a whole new way of living, sometimes it can feel nearly impossible. These tips from your friendly Clipper staff paired with support from your peers and friends will give you the tools you need to tackle the school year and keep you on track – no matter your goals.