5 Tips for Attending an Online Lecture

While many schools have always offered online courses, in recent years, remote learning has taken the world of education by storm.

In March 2020 students across the country were forced into virtual learning settings, despite their preference or learning style. Even with some schools reopening, many students are still learning on a computer screen.

With 70% of students reporting they prefer face-to-face instruction, concentrating and absorbing information during online lectures can be difficult — but not impossible.

Here we’ll share five online class tips to help you focus, retain information, and succeed when taking online courses.

1. Create a Designated Workspace

Anyone who works remotely will tell you that atmosphere is everything. Creating a designated workspace for your online lecture eliminates distractions and helps shift your brain into “work” mode.

Not everyone has space to create an office specifically for online classwork. The good news is, even a corner of your bedroom is sufficient.

Invest in a comfortable chair, desk, and good lighting. Choose a room with a door you can close.

The last thing you want is for your little sister or mom to burst in during a live online lecture and both embarrass and distract you.

Creating a specific area for learning will help sharpen your concentration and boost productivity

2. Treat Online Classes Like the Real Deal

Online lectures and classes hold as much weight as in-person instruction. Your grade is still on the line. 

Don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need to pay attention or work as hard on online courses. In fact, you might have to work a little harder!

Bring the same level of focus and determination to the table (or should we say desk?) when learning virtually as you would in a classroom setting.

Put your phone away, close out of social media, and give the instructor your undivided attention. 

While you have to watch live online lectures as they happen, you can watch recorded ones at your leisure.

Be careful not to take advantage of the flexibility online classes offer.

3. Decide on the Best Method for Taking Notes

Taking notes is a must during any online lecture. In fact, it’s a skill a lot of students struggle with.

There are two ways to take notes during an online lecture — good old pencil and paper or digitally. 

If you’re a fast typer, the latter might be best for you. Have a blank document open and ready before the lecture begins. You might need to adjust your laptop’s setting so you can view both the lecture and your notes simultaneously.

Despite the advancements in technology, some students prefer tried-and-true pencil and paper notes. Studies show that the physical act of writing down information helps people retain it better.

If this describes you, sharpen those #2 pencils and grab a fresh notebook before the lecture begins. 

You can also ask the instructor if they plan to provide a copy of the online lecture afterward, either as a document or a copy of the recording.

Another note-taking tip is to write a brief summary of the lecture as soon as it ends. This is when the information is fresh in your mind.

Don’t listen to the entire lecture and try to write all of your notes at the end. Chances are, you’ll miss some important facts along the way.

4. Practice Time Management Skills

Time management is essential for successful virtual learning, including during online lectures. 

Check the courses syllabus and take note of when all online lectures, exams, and assignments are due. Carve out time each day to work on these tasks and always hand your assignments in by the due date.

On days there are live online lectures, make sure you’re prepared and log-in on a few minutes early. Download any required software and check your internet connection so you don’t miss any important information.

One of the most helpful online class tips is to not procrastinate!

The beauty of online lectures are their flexibility. As long as you complete assignments on time, you can work at your own pace.

Avoid putting things off until the last minute, no matter how tempting it might be.

5. Become an Active Participant

Do you hate raising your hand in class? Does public speaking make your stomach turn?

Another benefit of distance learning is the ability to be an active participant behind the comfort of your computer screen.

Many online lectures have a sidebar where students can ask questions and interact with each other and the instructor. If you’re participating in a live-stream lecture, it may include video as well.

These are two opportunities for you to become an active participant in the discussion and possibly score a few brownie points with the teacher!


Participating in online lectures and discussions is the next best thing to in-person instruction for those who flourish in a classroom setting.

During Zoom meetings or calls you can see, hear, and debate with your classmates and instructor, helping you get the most out of the experience. 

Answer and pose questions when prompted or start up a conversation in the class chat group. The more you put into your online classes, the more you’ll get out.

Get the Most Out of Your Online Lecture

Distance learning isn’t for everyone. Unfortunately, it’s todays reality for many young learners. 

Whether you chose to take online classes or are staring down an online lecture with dread, these tips will help you succeed.

Treat your online classes the same way you would in-person instruction. Focus on the material, schedule time to get your work done, and participate during online discussions.

With a little planning and plenty of accountability, you can get the most out of every online lecture you attend.

Want to make your academic dreams a reality? Find out how we can help.

Source: HonorSociety.org Member Articles
5 Tips for Attending an Online Lecture

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