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How do I learn online?

Need Help?

Ask a Librarian @
Betty Sue Jessup Library

501 College Drive
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Workspace/Tech Prep and Tips

  • If you can, set up a space that will be your workspace. This can be an existing desk, or it can be a section of a kitchen or dining room table. Setting up a workspace will help you associate this space with schoolwork.
  • Get the best and most ergonomic chair you can. Be comfortable but sit up when working, and always do schoolwork at your workstation (desk or table).
  • Check your wifi. Make sure it is strong and reliable enough for your online work.  Test your internet speed by using a site like Internet Health Testing.
  • If you need to maximize your internet speed, consider
    • putting all devices that are not in use into airplane mode
    • disconnecting devices from the wifi
    • connecting your device directly to your modem/router using a LAN cable
  • Improve your performance and efficiency with this equipment:
    • Wireless mouse and/or keyboard. Laptops have their own trackpads and keyboards, but they're not as ergonomically sound and tend to make you less efficient.
    • Headphones or a headset. Working from home can be noisy and distracting (kids, dogs, mailman, etc.). Headphones can help you concentrate during class. Consider getting a pair of headphones that comes with a built-in microphone. 
    • Second monitor (or a mobile device).  If you will be taking notes, having a second monitor or device can help you be much more efficient, as you won't have to keep jumping screens.  For a cheaper alternative, use a notebook and take notes by hand.
    • External webcam (optional).  Most laptops and mobile devices come with their own webcams, but an external webcam provides a better picture, and many come with a better built-in microphone as well.
    • A printerA printer is an essential tool, especially if you're studying from home. You don't need a fancy printer, just something you can use to print out study materials to have on hand when you can't access the internet (during a power outage, for instance). Having a printer means you don't have to rely on a printer somewhere else, such as the library, which may be closed. Additionally, having printed study materials will help you organize them and find them more easily than if you keep everything online or on a USB drive.
    • USB drive. Fairly inexpensive these days, USB drives are another essential tool to have on hand. You can save copies of your assignments and your study materials on a USB drive that you can take anywhere. For example, if you need to print an assignment and you don't have your own printer, you can take the drive to the library or any other place with printing services and easily print what you need.