I took over a dozen virtual classes in high school, and about half of the classes I’ve taken in college have been virtual classes as well. As a result I’ve gathered lots of tips to stay organized in virtual classes and seen firsthand how having a well-organized file system and clearly defined information for a class can be the difference between passing with flying colors and failing a class. Here are my tips for being successful and how to organize information for virtual classes.
Have folders set up for each class
I organize my files at the beginning of every semester and have dedicated folders for each of my classes, especially my virtual classes. For some of my virtual classes, I go one step further and create additional folders for homework, quizzes, and lecture materials such as PowerPoints or readings. Not all professors require students to edit or upload documents for their classes, but it’s still helpful to have everything in one place.
- How I Organize Digital Files For My Classes
- Virtual Classes in High School
- Why To Take Virtual Classes in College
Document what software/settings you will need for each specific class
Remember how I mentioned that not every professor requires editing or uploading of documents? Some require that students use specialty software to complete coursework. This can be anything from coding assignments to doing practice math problems in a specialized program, or even completing all classwork and assignments using a specific website. I like to document what software and accessibility settings I will need for each of my classes so that I can easily remember if I need to use my magnifier to enlarge my math homework or if I need to go to a specific website for my accounting homework.
- How I Document Accessibility Preferences With Low Vision
- College Scheduling Hacks For Students With Chronic Illness
- MyMathLab for Vision Impairment
I love that my professors post all relevant information for courses online, but I’ve also learned that this information can randomly disappear if the course website is acting funny or if there is a campus wide internet outage right before I have an assignment due at midnight. As a result, I download all presentations for offline use and store them in a course folder so I can access them later. The same goes for course readings and virtual textbooks. Worst case, I can just delete them at the end of the semester.
Figure out which day assignments are due, and when new assignments are posted
Once upon a time, I finished a project for a class right before midnight. I was super proud of myself for finishing and went to upload the file, only to discover that it was due at 11 PM on Saturday, not midnight on Sunday. While I was able to convince the professor to accept my work since almost the entire class made the same mistake, I learned my lesson that I should confirm the date and time that assignments are due, and try not to work up until the last minute. Most professors will disclose this information in the syllabus.
If you can, do assignments in bulk to get ahead
One of the benefits of online classes is that the professors often let me work ahead in classes so that if I get sick during the semester, I don’t get super behind with all of my work. If the professor gives you the option to complete all of the discussion posts in advance, set aside an afternoon and write all of the discussion posts you can. I also try to do my assignments the day they are assigned and have been able to request early copies of the next week’s assignments. I found this to be invaluable when I had appendicitis and had to stay in bed, as I didn’t have to worry about schoolwork as much.
- What If I Get Appendicitis In College?
- How To Write Emergency Medical Information For Android 10
- Medical Emergencies in College
Plan how you will take tests and quizzes, and if accommodations are needed
Most of the tests and quizzes in my virtual classes can be taken in my dorm room, but there are some professors that request that I use the Disability Services Testing Center or that I go to a computer lab to take the test. Alternatively, I might need to request that the professor modify the test to include my extended time accommodation or take the test at a different date/time. Make sure that accommodations are filed in advance so that no one is running around trying to figure out how to help ten minutes before the test.
- How To Survive Midterms/Finals
- Testing Accommodations For Low Vision Students
- What To Bring To The Disability Services Testing Center
Use internet browser extensions like Immersive Reader
I love using internet browser extensions to make it easier for me to be successful in my classes. One of my favorites is the Microsoft Immersive Reader, which simplifies reading documents so I can easily concentrate on whatever I am reading, or have documents read out loud. I feel like this tool has dramatically changed how I read materials for my virtual classes since I don’t have to strain my eyes or stress about eye tracking issues- plus, it can read things out loud!
Add a light filter to help with eyestrain
Obviously, being in a virtual class means that you will be in front of the computer or other electronics more than you might be in a traditional class. I use light filters on my computer so that the backlight isn’t super bright or exhausting to read. I prefer doing this over wearing blue light filter glasses since I can easily adjust the filter intensity in my computer settings, and also because I already have a gray tint on my glasses.
- How Tinted Glasses Help My Light Sensitivity
- Ten Ways to Reduce Eye Strain With Technology
- Using High Contrast Themes In Windows 10
Virtual classes have allowed me to be successful in high school and college with a chronic illness, and I probably would not have graduated if it wasn’t for the fact I could take my classes from home or from the comfort of my bed or desk. Whether this is your first virtual class or your thirty-first, I hope these tips for staying organized in virtual classes are helpful and help you to succeed in your class!