Tips on How to Ace Your Online Class Experience

Jazmin Cole  

Social Media Manager 

It’s a weird time in the world right now, but as we all figure out how to get through uncertainty together and make adjustments to our lives, we still have one thing that might be certain—classes. 

ESU is one of the numerous universities that made the transition to all online classes. There are many students who have taken or only take online classes and this transition will be an easy one for them.

However, there are students who are new to taking online classes.

Many of your professors are going to write in their revised syllabi or mass emails that your online classes will be just like your regular in-person class…it’s not.  

Online classes are very different from sitting in a room at your school/university and seeing each other in person. Some aspects remain the same but not entirely.  

Here are a few tips to help you get through this change and make it to the end of the semester successfully.  

First and foremost, try and be somewhere that has a strong internet connection and is quiet. You’ll want to be able to hear or see your professor clearly, however, if you do not have access to these things, it’s okay. Make sure you communicate with your professor(s) any struggles or obstacles you have so they can assist you and make proper accommodations. 

Taking online classes means you can’t be afraid to reach out, ask questions or help whether through email or over video because if you plan on being successful, keeping an open line of honest communication is essential. 

Most of us will be using Zoom which allows you to show or not show video (whether or not you have the camera on is completely up to your professor), and it also allows you to mute and unmute yourself. Unmute yourself when you are speaking and when you’re not mute yourself again. Background noises because it makes it hard for others to hear so be diligent about your environment and muting yourself if you’re not speaking.

Second, one aspect that remains the same from being in a regular classroom is your attire. It’s fine if you are in your pajamas but make sure you at least have a top on. If you want to ditch the pants, go for it no one can see as long as you don’t plan on getting up during the lecture…Do not flash anyone. 

Making sure you are dressed appropriately is essential for many reasons and the biggest one is it is respectful, to your peers, your professor and yourself; so honestly, it is best if you are FULLY dressed, just to be safe.  

Next, be prepared for your classes. This remains the same, online or not. Being prepared for your class is a must. You should have all your textbooks, assignments, and tools with you at the ready. You’re still going to have to take notes so be prepared to do that. 

If you forget something it’ll most likely be easier to grab since you’ll most likely be at home and can grab it, but if you have to take your online class to-go and you aren’t at home, make sure you have everything you need. Although the environment may be a little lax it is still a class and you should be prepared.  

The fourth tip is all about respect during the online class experience. If your professor or peer is talking, try and pay attention. You’ll again most likely be somewhere it is easier to be distracted and professors know it is hard enough to keep your attention in a regular classroom. It will ten times harder for them when they can’t really see what you are doing.  

The class will get boring at times, especially if you have a class over an hour and fifteen minutes, however, if it is over that some professors will allow you to take a short break. 

The chat boxes. PLEASE DO NOT SAY ANYTHING INAPPROPRIATE IN THEM! Zoom allows you to address everyone or direct message one person and if you need to direct message make sure it is the person it is meant for and not the whole class. If you are not diligent you may send something to the wrong person or message the entire class, professor included, so it is imperative that everything sent in those chat boxes is 100 percent respectful and appropriate.   

My fifth tip might be a little weird, but it is important to know…you can use the restroom. Some might read this and think, “Duh, of course, you can,” but this might not be clear to everyone. In my first online class, I was afraid to just get up and go and I was in my house with the bathroom 10 feet away. I finally asked my professor after class if it was okay to just get up and go and he said yes. 

This might be a funny question, but this goes back to the online class dynamic being different. In a regular classroom, nine times out of ten if you get up and walk out your professor assumes you are going to the restroom (if you don’t pack your stuff up and take it with you). Online, everyone can see each other, and you may find it harder to just get up. So, if you need to you can excuse yourself.  

My last and final tip is having fun. The online class experience is new for some and it’s going to feel really awkward at first, but as time goes by you will get used to it. There will be times when the class is straight business and there is no time to waste, however, other times everyone is laughing and getting to know each other more. People will show off their pets, have a full-course meal, be in face masks, oblivious family members will walk into rooms in front of the camera by accident and students will be embarrassed and everyone will laugh it off and move on.  

It is definitely more intimate which gives us all more of an opportunity to be there for each other. Don’t be nervous or afraid of your online class, enjoy it. It’s a change, a harder one for some but all you can do is take it one day at a time.  

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