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5 top tips for distance learning

March 20, 2020

Here are some helpful ways to make the transition to learning in a virtual classroom.

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An Ohio State student studies online.

Ohio State has a number of resources available to help students learn online at

Having a plan and some solid strategies for learning virtually can make the transition smoother and less stressful. Check out our top tips for making the most of distance instruction, and visit for full details on all available resources.

1.  Prep your tools and space.

Transitioning to a new learning environment can be a big adjustment. A good first step is to make sure you have all the tools you need to be successful.

  • Check out guidelines from your school or institution to learn what materials or technology you’ll need to complete coursework at a distance.
  • Get familiar with any new tools you’ll be using. Exploring them early will help you feel more prepared.
  • Find a space that is comfortable and will allow you to focus; this can be your home base for coursework.

2. Locate secure and reliable Wi-Fi

We recognize this can pose a challenge, so we’ve created this page of resources to help you safely connect to the internet no matter where you are.

  • Always choose secured public Wi-Fi over unsecured.
  • Explore the free, short-term options that companies are offering students.
  • Create strong, unique Wi-Fi passwords.

3. Keep in contact.

When you’re learning at a distance, communication is key. No matter which tools you’re using, consistent communication is crucial.

  • Reach out to your instructor or school to find out how and when your classes will be held.
  • Check online tools or your email inbox regularly for updates from your instructor. If you’re not used to checking these tools on a regular basis, it can help to set times during the day to look at them.
  • Participate in virtual tutoring or office hours, if they’re offered.

4. Stay organized.

You may be a pro at organizing handouts, but how is your file structure? Getting your digital environment in order and understanding your new schedule will help you find what you need and avoid missing deadlines.

  • Establish a schedule. Plan out your week, class times, study schedule and assignments in advance.
  • Prioritize your work. What due dates are coming up first? Make smart decisions about how to best spend your time. Read more about digital literacy
  • Know where to turn for help. Make note of the tutoring, IT and other support resources available to you so that they’re on hand when you need them.

5. Take care of yourself.

Our most important tip: Be kind to yourself and take time to care for your well-being in a time of transition.

  • Stay healthy by getting adequate rest, nutrition and exercise. Schedule time to take care of yourself and check in with your friends and family.
  • Your success has as much to do with your effort as your ability. You can adapt to new circumstances, so don’t give up!
  • Monitor your self-talk. Stay positive.

Learn more about your temporary remote learning resources on the Keep Learning homepage.