When you choose to go to school online, you may find that those living with you think this means you have more time for them now. That time is your time to spend as you choose, but that time also has to be spent, of course, handling your classes and assignments.
The challenges are twofold: giving yourself the space and mentality you need to motivate yourself to work, and finding a way to tell everyone else that, yes, you are at school right now, and no, you cannot drop everything and drive them to the theater.
Thus, it’s very important to set up your own online learning environment to have a successful online learning experience.
Make a Spot Specifically for Schooling
If you have a spare room, this is a perfect online learning environment— move the computer in there, and that’s officially your classroom. All other thoughts and problems leave while you are in your classroom. Only classwork happens in the classroom. You’ll sleep easier, too; if you work in your room often, you’ll associate the bedroom with classwork. Try sleeping when worrying about all your due dates. It’s not a lot of fun.
Not everyone has this luxury. Your own bedroom or study can continue to work fine as your “classroom”. What’s most important is that it has a door you can shut so you can…
Kick Everyone Out!
Pets, kids, roommates, spouses– they’ve got to go. They’re going to distract you from your work and you need to focus. This is college. You wouldn’t go into a professor’s class with your cat trying to eat your hair, and you don’t want to experience it in your online learning environment either. Unless that kind of thing helps you concentrate, anyway (hey, I don’t judge).
Shut everyone out of your work space. I used a handy sign to tell people when I was taking a test, which let them know I would devour their souls if they interrupted such a delicate time period.
Clean Up Your Work Space
Clutter is also distracting and sometimes stressful. If you’re an absent minded professor type who revels in the chaos of your mess and feels more productive surrounded by heaps of work and books, then go ahead and keep it like that. The main point is that your work space needs to be comfortable and feel professional to your senses, and this is usually going to mean keeping clean and organized.
It’s not just your desk space you have to worry about either– your computer’s desktop is also important! If your school computer is shared with your personal computer, then you need to organize your folders and remove distracting game and program icons from the desktop. You may even want to make two “users” on the computer: one is for your play, and the other is for school with no access to games and only access to all you need for your learning experience. Make specific folders for your school files and organize them by class.
Set a Schedule
Online school allows you to earn your degree when you have the time to, but you still need to set this time. It doesn’t have to be the same time every day (it certainly wasn’t for me), but it needs to be consciously decided that you are going to work on school so that it gets done. If you know you need a routine, set a routine, and let everyone you live with know what it is.