Tips for Students working online

Students’ Strategies for Staying Motivated in an Online Course 

Time Management
Efficient methods and skills to achieve goals and accomplish course tasks 

  • Conduct online work every day at a scheduled time. 
  • Have a structured schedule. 
  • Stay on schedule with readings and postings. 
  • Set aside time as if in a face-to-face class. 
  • Block out specific time per class for doing readings, contributions to discussion, and homework. 
  • Allow days off from doing online work. 
  • Stay a week ahead in assignments. 
  • Check on the course frequently. 
  • Designate quiet time to better concentrate on the online course. 
  • Create a timeline with details, due dates, and deadlines for the online course. 
  • Plan ahead, set deadlines and time based on role as full-time worker, parent, or full-time student.  


Identifying tasks and ranking them in order of importance. 

  • Use a planner or a calendar to purposefully schedule time or tasks for the course based on due dates. 
  • Organize documents, save them with specific names, print off reading materials and keep them in a binder or digital folder. 
  • Highlight when major tasks are due, set a goal start date, and look at gaps in the schedule. 
  • Have a plan prior to the start of each week.  
  • Develop an organization chart to envision the course step-by-step.  

Learning Strategies 

Methods for learning content and procedures that influence student’s study habits.  

  • Mark electronically or highlight the text when reading.  
  • Pause periodically to summarize or paraphrase what has been studied. 
  • Look for connections between present and past content. 
  • Write down questions for the instructor. 
  • Take breaks periodically to keep from getting too tired. 
  • Make up own examples for concepts while learning. 
  • Use own words. 
  • Look for practical applications in real life settings for things being learned. 
  • Discuss the course content and answer others’ questions in the online group discussion forums.  
  • Share course materials and receive feedback from the online group. 
  • Collaborate with classmates in virtual teams. 
  • Answer own questions while studying. 
  • Question someone else’s ideas. 

Lehman, R. M., & Conceição, S. C. O. (2014). Motivating and retaining online students: Research-based strategies that work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.