Office of Student Life

Disability Services

Tips and Resources for Virtual Learning

Shifting from an in-person class format to remote learning can pose many challenges and concerns as you enter a new learning environment. You may not be familiar or know what to expect with online courses. Consider these tips and resources listed below, curated by SLDS staff.

If you encounter disability-related barriers with virtual learning, please do not hesitate to reach out to your assigned Access Specialist.


Planning and Preparing

Planning and preparing for online classes is important as you develop strategies to complete work and be successful. It can be easy to fall behind and have challenges with dedicating time to your courses without the structure of in-person class meetings. 

  • Treat an online course like a “real” course. 
  • Make a study plan to stay on top of assignments and course materials. It is helpful to utilize effective study methods that have worked for you before, taking study breaks, and creating enjoyable ways to study.  
  • Be persistent and stay motivated in your courses, when you run into a challenge, keep trying, use online resources and information, and ask for help.   

Time Management

Time management is essential to for staying on top of your assignments and responsibilities. Effective time management can make a difference in the success of an online course. 

  • Keep track of your schedule and stay organized. It is important to make sure you are aware of all of your commitments, both personal and academic. Keep in mind major assignments, deadlines, and personal commitments. 
  • Block out time to work on assignments. Blocking time can also be effective in maintaining focus. Design your schedule with your learning in mind.  
  1. Tips for Time Blocking - Unsure of where to begin with time blocking?  This article contains 7 helpful tips.   
  2. Pomodoro Timer - The timer will keep you to 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break.  The timer can help to promote work flow and minimize distractions. 
  • Break it down.  Splitting assignments into smaller chunks can make tackling assignments and projects more manageable. Breaking assignments down will provide you with tasks that can be placed in a to-do list.  
  • Monitor your progress on assignments and readings. Check-in with your syllabus and study plan regularly to make sure you are making the necessary progress.  Hold yourself accountable for your progress and make proactive choices for managing your workload. 

Learning Environments 

Learning environments can make a significant impact on your ability to stay focused, engaged, and successful in online courses. Many students have concerns with their academic environments and have different personal preferences for what type of learning environment works best for them.  

  • Find a quiet space and eliminate distractions. 
  • Forest App- is a productivity app that helps distance you from your cell phone and manage your time, users can earn credits by not using their cell phones and plant real trees around the world. 
  • Create your ideal learning environment by making sure you have a location with all of the essentials to complete your course work. When creating a regular study environment, keep these in mind: 
  1. Access to internet 
  2. Necessary course materials, book, software, etc. 
  3. Any necessary technology: computer, iPad, headphones, etc. 
  4. Comfortable workspace that is conducive to getting work accomplished 

Staying Connected and Engaged 

Staying connected and engaged is another difficult element in online courses. It may be different interacting with people in online classes compared to interactions in in-person classes. 

  • Connect with others online. There are several options for interacting online in class: message board, group discussions, Zoom, Facetime, and other social medias. 
  • Create an online study group to stay connected, ask questions, discuss course materials, and study for exams.  
  • Connect with your instructor.  Similar to connecting with your peers, you may also want to get to know your instructor. Instructors can be available for digital office hours, to set-up appointments, communicate online, and other platforms for questions and to get to know each other. 
  • Actively participate in online discussion and study groups. If you are in a synchronous class participate in the chat features, ask questions, and help out other classmates. 

Know Your Resources

There are many virtual campus resources that may help you be successful in online courses.