Guide to Online Learning – For Students

Guide to Online Learning for Students

Pratt Institute

1. Get Comfortable with Necessary Technology

  • To start, find out: 
  • What technologies are my classes using? Check your syllabus for details or ask your instructor.
  • Do I know how to use them? If not, where can I get help on them? Ask your instructor for suggestions or instructions. Contact the Pratt Technology Desk for personalized help. 
  • Optimize your internet connectivity by getting closer to your WiFi routing or wiring directly to the router. Don’t panic when things get disconnected, just rejoin! 
  • Learn how to send messages/chat in the technologies used in your classes
  • Learn how to mute/unmute your audio in Google Meet or Zoom and turn on/off your video (Google Meet / Zoom) in the technologies used in your classes.
  • During class, quit other applications or close unused tabs not being used in class. Try an app to help with distractions, if needed. 
  • Always save your work and back up your work regularly

2.  How do I learn online?

  • Examine your own learning preference and motivations.
    • What time of day do I study best? 
      • How does my energy level change throughout the day, and how well do you concentrate at different times of the day? 
      • Do I prefer writing in the morning? Reading in the afternoon? Brainstorming in the evening? What are my ideal times for different tasks?
    • How long can I realistically stay focused before I need a break? 
      • The Pomodoro technique may be a good way to assist you to stay focused for 20 minute bursts, alternating with short breaks.
    • What is a good break activity and how can I ensure that I go back to work? 
    • Will I benefit from using alarms on my phone as reminders? 
    • Have I optimized my study space? 
    • Do I work best if it is completely quiet, or if I have background noise, such as classical music?
  • Identify your learning objectives and goals
    • What is the most important thing I’d like to learn? 
    • What are some skills or areas of knowledge that I’d like to improve?
    • How do I hold myself accountable to achieve my own goals?
    • How do I set realistic expectations?
    • How much can I accomplish in a day/ a week?
    • Use the ‘Woop’ method to identify your Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan.
  • Develop new study strategies

3. How do I engage effectively with my community of online learners?

  • Leverage your network
    • Is there an upper classmate that you can get some advice from?
    • Do I belong to a club or organization on campus where I can talk about online learning?
    • Do I know anyone who has these skills already? 
  • Set up study groups or buddies
    • Who do I know that would make a good study-buddy?  How do I reach out to them?
  • Use L/AC thought partners
    • Contact the L/AC to find a peer tutor or find out more about academic coaching and tutoring sessions.  
  • Interact with students in your online course
    • Follow your instructor’s guidelines for interacting with fellow students
    • Take good advantage of small group activities – ask for feedback, ask for clarifications from other students
    • Don’t be shy to email or reach out to other students in your classes

4. Practical Study Skills

  • Plan ahead by building a study plan 
    • Plan, put your plan on your calendar, create a to-do list, set time limits, and keep to your schedule to structure your day 
    • Set daily goals for studying
    • Take study breaks
    • Try using an app to help with all this:
  • Do one thing at a time
    • Multitasking is a myth 
  • Practice Time Management
    • Delegate, prioritize, schedule, set up deadlines, overcome procrastination, deal with stress, avoid multitasking, start early and take breaks.
    • For example, you may use time management tools or techniques to help with all this:
    • Adapting agile techniques for estimating & executing your projects.
  • Practice effective note-taking
  • Review, Revise, repeat.
    • Before submitting any work online, be sure to review it carefully 
    • Once you get feedback from peers or your instructor, revise your work 
    • Repeat this process as often as needed
  • Set up your learning space
    • Have a dedicated study space
    • Organize your study space
    • Minimize distractions
    • Be aware what others can see and hear
  • Participate in class
    • Follow class etiquette
    • Understand what your instructor’s expectations are
    • Actively take notes during classes, lectures, online presentations and group meetings

5.  How do I take care of myself and others?

  • Get sufficient sleep
    • Follow the advice of sleep experts, including: have a calming bedtime routine, go to bed around the same time every day, wake up around the same time every day, and avoid eating or using your phone prior to going to bed. 
  • Try to stick to a healthy eating plan
  • Exercise daily
    • Try to fit in a short walk or some in-home exercises most days of the week
    • Do some Yoga (link needed to a free app) or workouts (link needed to a free app) in your home
  • Practice empathy with yourself and others
  • Take breaks from social media, news, and screens
  • Try meditation and breathing exercises through online apps (free recommended apps needed) or through Mindful Pratt resources
  • Have a plan:  What do I do when I am sick, or when my close family members are sick?
    • Students who feel ill should contact their medical provider. If they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are exposed to someone who has been diagnosed, they should follow the directions of their medical provider and their local departments of health. After they have taken these steps, Pratt’s Health Services are available remotely to help answer student concerns during business hours at or 718.399.4542.
  • Keep in mind that your professors and classmates may be new to online learning as well; be patient and kind to one another!

6. Where do I go for help? 

This guide was created by the Academic Affairs Sub-Committee. Contact us with suggestions, feedback, additions or changes.

Download this Guide as a PDF document here.


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