By Ren Evans, Lead Writing Specialist

In Part 1 of this two-part series on becoming a successful online learner, I covered skill building, avoiding distractions, and planning and preparing. In this post, I offer thoughts about reading online, communicating with online professors and classmates, and online LEC tutoring.

Thinking deeply about online reading

Online classes often involve a lot more reading and writing than students expect. And because most of this reading happens online, it’s good to think about how reading online differs from reading printed materials.

Our online worlds present an interesting mix of the personal and public. On a smartphone, we can read a friend’s text message while reading a New York Times article while reading a Twitter feed. To navigate this world, we develop specific reading patterns, like quickly linking from page to page, scrolling headlines and newsfeeds, briefly scanning chunks of text for important information.

As Maria Konnikova writes, “The concept of scrolling versus turning a page, the physicality of a book versus the ephemerality of a screen, the ability to hyperlink and move from source to source within seconds online—all these variables translate into a different reading experience.”

As you prepare for an online class, consider the types of reading experiences you enjoy and find satisfying. You could make a list of the pros and cons of online reading—this can get you thinking about how you’ll use the seemingly infinite amount of online information to complete your assignments and have a positive learning experience.

Communicating with professors and reaching out for support

Finally, remember that just because you’re not face-to-face with a teacher or classmates doesn’t mean you shouldn’t communicate with them. Just because you take classes through your computer doesn’t mean that you are alone. When you have questions, you need to reach out to your professor, your classmates, and to the LEC.

Speaking of the LEC, did you know that we now offer online tutoring? If you need help with a class, but are unable to be on campus during tutoring hours, you can still meet with our math and writing specialists. Sessions must be held while we are open (no late-night tutoring sessions), and require an internet connection and quiet space.

We offer this service because we believe that any subject can be taught or tutored online, so long as the learner (and teacher) commit to learning. So the next time you find yourself facing an online class or tutoring session, ask yourself what you want to get out of it. The more self-directed you are, the better we can support you—and the more you’ll succeed.

A version of this article appears on pages 21-24 of the Fall 2018 issue of Luminaria, under the title “Online On Your Own Time.”