Where do you do your work? Evaluate your study spaces.
While you may not live in a campus dorm room, you likely have specific places where you study. This may include a home office, work office, the local library, or even your bedroom. Each space may have its benefits and drawbacks that make it a less than optimal space for working on your online coursework. Take this short survey (PDF file) taken from the Academic Success Center at Oregon State University. The survey asks you to evaluate three different spaces where you may study.
Finding a Study Space: Some Important Things to Keep in Mind
- Do people interrupt you when you are in that space? This could include family members, friends, or even strangers.
- Is the space too hot? Too cold? The temperature of the space may affect your work habits. For example, if you are too hot, you may get sleepy and struggle to concentrate.
- How is the lighting in that space? If the lighting is too dim, you may struggle to see your textbook or strain your eyes.
- Do you take a lot of breaks in that space? While breaks are definitely recommended while working on your online course/studying, too many breaks will be counterproductive.
- Do you get distracted in that space? For example, I know that doing work/studying in my bedroom is distracting. If I am tired, I am more likely to fall asleep and not get any work done. Back when I was an undergraduate student and lived in the dorms, I know that I had to study in the library since my friends/dorm noises would be distracting. One second, I would be doing schoolwork, and the next I would be hanging out watching a television show with my friends in the common room.
- Knowing not just what distracts you but where you are distracted will help you avoid those obstacles. Avoiding distractions will help you focus and succeed in your online courses.
Good luck in finding your optimal study space. Do not get disappointed if the first space you select does not work out. Be willing to try out a variety of spaces in order to find the best study space for you!
The following references were used to provide a brief snapshot on strategies for successful online learning environments (all links retrieved on 7/2/15).
- Oregon State University Academic Success Center. All Tools & Worksheets.
- Strang, T. (April 14, 2014). Identifying an Ideal Study Space. Cengage Learning.