From Surviving to Thriving: How to Succeed in Online Classes

Online classes have become increasingly popular over the years, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite the convenience and flexibility that online classes offer, many students struggle to adapt to this learning environment. In order to succeed in online classes, students need to adopt new strategies and habits that can help them stay focused, motivated, and engaged. This article explores some of the best practices that can help students not just survive but thrive in online classes.

Embrace Technology

One of the most important factors that determine the success of online students is their ability to use technology effectively. Online classes rely heavily on digital tools such as video conferencing, online forums, and learning management systems (LMS). Therefore, students need to be comfortable with using these tools to communicate, collaborate, and access course materials.

Studies have shown that students who are proficient in using technology have better academic outcomes in online classes than those who struggle with technology (Kirschner & Van Merriƫnboer, 2013). Therefore, educators need to provide students with the necessary training and support to help them become proficient in using digital tools.

Set Goals and Prioritize Tasks

Online classes require a high level of self-discipline and self-motivation. Unlike traditional classes, there are no fixed schedules or face-to-face interactions to keep students accountable. Therefore, students need to be proactive in setting goals and prioritizing their tasks to stay on track.

Students should create a study plan that outlines their daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, including reading assignments, quizzes, and projects. They should also set realistic goals and deadlines for themselves, and monitor their progress regularly. This can help them stay focused and motivated, and avoid procrastination and last-minute cramming.

Actively Engage in Learning

Active engagement is a key component of online learning success. Students need to be actively involved in their learning process, by participating in discussions, asking questions, and seeking feedback from their peers and instructors.

Online classes provide various opportunities for active engagement, such as online forums, group projects, and virtual office hours. Students should take advantage of these opportunities to interact with their classmates and instructors, and gain a deeper understanding of the course material.

Manage Time Effectively

Time management is crucial for online students, who need to balance their academic work with other commitments such as work, family, and social activities. Students should create a schedule that allows them to allocate sufficient time for studying, as well as other important activities.

One effective time management technique is the Pomodoro technique, which involves breaking down study sessions into 25-minute intervals, followed by a short break. This technique can help students stay focused and avoid burnout, while also improving their productivity.

Maintain a Support System

Online learning can be isolating and lonely, especially for students who are used to face-to-face interactions. Therefore, it is important for students to maintain a support system that can provide them with emotional and academic support.

Students should reach out to their classmates, instructors, and academic advisors for help and guidance. They can also join online study groups, social media groups, or online forums, where they can connect with other students and share their experiences.


Online classes offer a flexible and convenient way for students to learn, but they also require a high level of self-discipline and self-motivation. Students need to be proactive in adopting new strategies and habits that can help them succeed in this learning environment. By embracing technology, setting goals and priorities, actively engaging in learning, managing time effectively, and maintaining a support system, students can not just survive but thrive in online classes.

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