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Online Learning: Tips and Tricks for a Successful Experience

Posted: May 19, 2021 by Diane Smith
close up of a woman’s hand while working on a laptop
Having the right tools to navigate a remote learning environment can help you be successful.
 


If you are thinking about continuing your education with one of Pima Medical Institute’s 100% online degree programs, now could be a great time to reevaluate your home office space. 

Follow a few tips and tricks below to help you thrive throughout your experience.  For the best results, focus on your environment, your health and your community.


Your Environment

How you set up your at-home study space can affect your mood, your mindset and your overall productivity.


#1: Create a dedicated learning space


Studying on the couch or bouncing from room to room can be comfortable and convenient, especially when balancing other life priorities. But, it can also create easy distractions, making it harder to concentrate and digest new information.

If you are able, create a space in your home that is used only for your learning and class work. While it would be ideal to have a room where you can close a door to minimize distraction, it is not necessary. Whether it is a separate room, or cozy nook, working at a table or desk is optimal; just be sure you have ample room for your computer, a notepad and a glass of water.


#2: Find a space with ample lighting


Working on a bright screen, in a dark room, can strain your eyes, which can lead to other health issues like eye dryness or irritation, headaches and even blurry vision. Find a space with natural light if you can, if that is not an option; try to make sure your study space is well lit.


#3: Create an ergonomically friendly environment


Everyone’s living situation is different, and at-home learning environments may not always provide the proper desk setup. Don’t worry. You can easily create your own ergonomically friendly space, without an extra expense to you.
  • Adjust your desk or chair height to keep your thighs at a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep the top of your monitor eye-level, and at least arm’s length away from you.
  • Place your keyboard so that your arms are level at 90 degrees, and straight out. Loosen your wrists.

Your Health


#4: Take planned breaks


We often find ourselves surrounded by screens, constantly in front of the blue lights of our laptops, monitors, tablets and smartphones. During your program, it is important to prioritize your mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Stepping away from screen-time is important to reset, revive and improve productivity.

Studies show that it is beneficial to take shorter breaks more often throughout the day. Our own Dr. Rebecca Carpenter, PT, NMD and Program Director for our Physical Therapist Assistant program at our Mesa Campus says you should take a quick break every hour. Yes - every hour.

Walk the neighborhood. Let the dog out. Make yourself a snack. Anything that requires a pause from the screen for just a few minutes will benefit your screen-time productivity.

Breaks don’t always need to be taken away from your desk, either. Here is a great interview with Dr. Carpenter demonstrating several different types of pauses and stretches you can give yourself throughout the day.
 
 

#5: Manage your time


We know you are busy with personal commitments, your job and school. It can seem like a balancing act at times, but it is possible to manage all three if you can work on how you manage your time.

Study on a set schedule. Carve out a specific chunk of time on a consistent schedule, during the hours where you can be the most dedicated and distraction-free. Set a timer to give yourself a strict cutoff time. Buy a daily planner (digital or paper works.) Prioritize your daily and weekly tasks at the start of each week.

Having a solid understanding and application of time management will help you succeed not only in the classroom, but in your career and personal life as well.


Your Community

 
#6: Interact with faculty


Your instructors are here to support you and want you to succeed. We welcome engagement in and out of the virtual classroom setting. You can take advantage of the many communication platforms available – text, email, phone call and our online learning management system, Blackboard, to stay in touch with faculty and get your questions answered.
 

#7: Get to know your peers


Even in a remote learning setting, your peers can be a very helpful lifeline: not only to foster effective study habits, but also to provide a forum for networking and for maintaining mental health via human connection.
  • Engage via online forums.
  • Create virtual study groups.
  • Find common interests and form personal connections.

#8: Enlist the support of your family and your community


You will always have a support system with your faculty and peers at Pima Medical. In addition, having a support system outside of the virtual classroom setting can help you stay motivated, committed and balanced throughout your busy schedule.


#9: Define your “Why”


At the end of the day, you are doing this for a reason. Perhaps for your family. Perhaps for a better future. Perhaps for a happier you. Whatever your “why” may be, keep it close. Do what you can to stay motivated. Because you can get there from here.

Get started now.
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