Succeeding in an Online Environment - a Tip Sheet for Students

by the Office of Teaching and Learning and The Success Center


  • Ensure you have the needed hardware and software - Complete this form as soon as possible if you need to make a technology request.
  • Familiarize yourself with Canvas and Zoom - Practice using the technology before you are required to do so in class. 
  • Ensure consistent Internet access - Have a backup plan in place (e.g. phone number for Zoom meetings, course material printouts) in case you lose Internet access.
  • Investigate “hot spots” - Check your phone’s data plan.  You may be able to use your phone as a “hot spot” if your house or apartment loses its wifi.


  • Designate a dedicated class/study space - Think of this as your “classroom.”  Eliminate clutter and have your course materials and supplies on hand.
  • Set specific class times - If some of your class time is asynchronous, plan specific times when you will “attend” your class.
  • Check your course site frequently - Read all assignments and announcements.  Keep a to-do list and activity calendar to manage tasks and due dates.
  • Actively participate - Get to know your peers and collaborate on a regular basis.  Participate thoughtfully in discussion boards.
  • Communicate regularly with your professor - Maintain an open line of communication with your professor.  If you are confused about an assignment or are falling behind, reach out as soon as possible.  Be your own best advocate!


  • Set a study schedule - Plan study times in advance and honor those commitments.
  • Aim for shorter, focused sessions - Study for 25-30 minutes at a stretch, followed by a short break away from your study space. Stack no more than 2-3 short sessions per each long session. Use a timer or app like Focus Keeper to keep you on task, and turn your phone to silent mode or completely off to minimize social media distractions.
  • Set measurable goals for studying - Rather than “study math,” create a specific goal like, “Review the chapter on differentiation rules and complete 10 practice problems.”  Study actively - don’t just “look over your notes.”
  • Use the Power 10 method for procrastination - If you are having trouble starting a task, set your phone timer for 10 minutes and complete the task for that time frame.  Once you’ve begun, it is far easier to continue!
  • Use your resources - Need tutoring support?  Both the SJU Office of Learning Resources and the Writing Center are open. 


  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule - Good sleep keeps you healthy and is invaluable in long-term memory formation.
  • Get outside! - Walking or spending time outdoors helps to decrease stress levels.  Plan outdoor time daily.
  • Practice transcending the moment - Meditation, prayer, yoga, and deep breathing decrease stress and increase focus.  Just 5-10 minutes a day can be helpful!
  • Monitor your mental health - If you feel you need to speak with someone, make an appointment with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

Additional support


Above all, know that all of us at SJU are here to support you in your online learning!