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College Success Strategies: Online Learning Tips

Resources for succeeding in college, including study skills, notetaking, test-taking, and time management.

Online Learning Tips

For students who are used to in-person classes, online learning can present some challenges. However, if you learn how to use Canvas, get organized, and reach out for help when you need it, you CAN succeed in your online courses!


Please note that having access to a computer and the internet is essential to success in online courses. If you do not have a way to access a computer and the internet, please reach out to your adviser as soon as possible. 


An open textbook on online learning called Learning How to Learn Online is also available for those who want to learn more strategies for being a successful online learner! 

Bay State's learning management system is called Canvas. Watch the video below for an overview of how to use Canvas. Then, check out the links below for more help in using Canvas. 

Bay State College Library. (2020, May 19). Canvas Orientation [Video]. YouTube.

Being organized is key to succeeding in your online courses! Take these steps to get organized. 

  • Use a planner and/or create a weekly schedule.
    • Go through your syllabi and write down all required class meeting times and due dates.
    • Schedule dedicated study time and time for your other daily tasks.


  • As soon as you can, obtain all of your required course materials. In order to complete assignments and do well on quizzes and tests, you need to have access to all the required textbooks as well as any access codes your professor requires. If you are using a free textbook, a link should be in your Canvas shell.


  • Make sure to regularly check your BSC EMAIL and course announcements in CANVAS. 


  • Find a dedicated place in your room or apartment where you can do your coursework. If at all possible, avoid studying on your bed!


  • If your family or roommates are noisy, try earplugs, playing classical music, or a white noise app. Use headphones during online class lectures or while listening to course recordings.



  • Help yourself focus by putting away your phone and limiting other distractions while you are listening to lectures, taking notes, or doing your homework. 
    • Do you struggle to stay off social media? Check out tools, such as Cold Turkey, on the Time Management page of this guide!
  • Find out how your professors are holding office hours (Zoom? Email? Microsoft Teams?) and take advantage of these opportunities to ask questions.

  • Connect with your classmates using technology. You can hold study groups using Zoom, Google Hangouts, a private Facebook group, etc. 

  • Online tutoring is available 24/7 via the link to from any course in Canvas. 


  • Take short breaks between tasks and reward yourself with a walk, snack, brief social media break, or a short chat with a friend. 


  • Eat well, keep hydrated, exercise, and try to keep a regular sleep schedule.