Steps To Stay Motivated (Students)

We’re highlighting several tips to stay motivated while you attend your face-to-face courses in an online learning environment.

Do These 3 Things Regularly

  1. Log in to Canvas. This first step will be toward success. You can look for course updates, contribute to class discussions, complete assignments, or connect with other students(s). Get in the habit of doing so regularly.
  2. Communicate with your instructors. We encourage students to communicate with their faculty. Follow the guidance on which methods they prefer, such as email, discussion boards, Canvas chat, virtual “student” office hours, etc. If you have a question, reach out to them.
  3. Ask for help when you need it. Open communication helps you develop a rapport with faculty and pave the way if you have questions down the line. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We want to help you succeed.

Block off times for studying each week

Create a reasonable study schedule and stick to it. Look at your commitments at the onset of each week and determine your obligations for coursework/study time, work, and family for that week. Block off time to meet each requirement and schedule this time as appointments on your calendar, and then keep your appointments. Having a consistent study environment is a good idea, too.

Use time management techniques

  • Identify your time-wasters (social media, texting, purposeless web browsing). Vow not to participate when you should be attending a virtual lecture, completing assignments, studying, etc.
  • Stay focused and do one thing at a time — multitasking can slow you down.
  • Break large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  • Make a daily “To Do” list. Check things off the list as you complete them.
  • Develop a daily routine with scheduled course time, study time, and free time. Research has shown that students with a structured daily schedule are more successful academically
Need a little more help in this area? Get more time management tips from ISU’s Academic Center webpage. Or, watch the How to manage your time more effectively (according to machines) TED-Ed video by the bestselling author Brian Christian.

Create a healthy study environment

  • Ensure connectivity. Have a plan for internet access as well as 2-factor.
  • Get some peace and quiet. You will need a quiet place to work without distractions from things like television, family, or roommates.
  • Avoid games. Consider uninstalling any computer games to avoid temptation. Or keep the games on a different computer in the house.
  • Turn off your cell phone. Let friends and family members know the hours that you will be “at” school.
  • Beware surfing the black hole of the Internet. It is easy to lose track of the time as you wander from site to site.
  • Consider ergonomics. Adjust the height of your
    chair, keyboard, and screen so that you are comfortable. Forearms and
    thighs should be level and parallel to the floor. Wrists should not be
    bent while typing.
  • Set up good lighting and comfortable seating. Lighting in the room should be at least as bright as the computer screen to avoid eye strain.

Focus on your long-term goal …

Remember why you’re doing this: the degree, the more significant career opportunities, the ability to take life in the direction you want to go. Write down your reasons, too.

… Also, set short-term goals and reward yourself for meeting them

Take care of you, too!

Check out these helpful resources:

Passed a quiz or exam? Wrapped up that big project with an A? Celebrate with something that makes you feel good. Rewarding yourself helps keep you motivated.

Connect with other students

Class discussion boards and other online tools and resources help you connect with a community of like-minded online learners. You can share your everyday struggles, get new perspectives, and support each other. When you are communicating, make sure that you follow the Netiquette at ISU (PDF).

How do you stay motivated?

If it’s working, keep doing it!


This CELT Steps to stay motivate when attending courses that have shifted online page is a derivative of the Purdue University Global Self-Motivation and the Online Learner: How to Stay Motivated When You Go to College Online (August 27, 2018) web post and Virginia Tech’s Student Tips for Academic Success in an Online Environment page.