The Hub How to succeed in online learning: Advice from the Class of 2022

How to succeed in online learning: Advice from the Class of 2022

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.” Grads from Athabasca University’s Class of 2022 share pieces of wisdom for success in online learning

Athabasca University (AU) will celebrate the success of more than 1,800 graduates at our convocation ceremony on June 17. While this chapter of their lives might be ending, grads from the Class of 2022 learned a lot along the way.

We asked grads to reflect on their journey and, with the benefit of hindsight, offer their best piece of advice to students about to begin their academic journey—or any learner in need of a few words of encouragement.

Here’s what they said.

A challenging, beautiful adventure

“Although your road looks like it’s long and overwhelming, it’s filled with beautiful adventures that will challenge you in ways in which you never thought possible. Enjoy your journey and keep moving forward.”

Katie Centracchio, Bachelor of Professional Arts

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Put in the time and effort, and you’ll see the rewards. Finishing my degree after 10 years removed from college has been one of my best accomplishments.”

Harris Ahmed, Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations

Shot of a young woman relaxing while working in the living room at home

Immerse yourself in learning and peers

“The best advice I could provide a new student is to take courses that drive you, motivate you, and meet your learning goals. Take the time to truly immerse yourself in the courses through discussion forums and understand the content and composition of the learnings. This is also a great opportunity to build your network!”

Mary Poulin, Master of Health Studies

“I tell new students: reach out! Pursue connections with your instructors and your peers. Make time for relationships and be involved in each other’s lives. The gift of these relationships makes your studies richer. It can feel lonely, so put yourself out there, offer to help, meet for coffee, or over a video chat. Don’t do it alone. Ask for connection and ask for help.”

Crys Vincent, Master of Counselling

Related: Celebrate Convocation 2022 with the #AthaU22 toolkit

Grid of hexagon cells above a laptop in an office room. Some cells are blank and some have avatar photos

Keep pushing

“Keep pushing forward, even if it feels insurmountable, it isn’t. Time is going to pass whether you do the work or not, so you might as well fit it in now—the results sneak up on you!”

Laura Johnson, Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations

“Keep on learning. Never be discouraged. AU offers you the opportunity to truly be in charge of your learning journey at a higher level than most other universities. You are empowered in each class to use your resources and be successful.”

Melanie McFarlane, Bachelor of Arts

Make a plan for study—and you

“I would suggest that new students give themselves 1-2 hours per day to study and write. They should also remember that ‘me’ time is not a time to feel guilty about not studying. It’s a time to unwind and be inspired with new energy to tackle the workload.”

Petra Laptiste, Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies

“Ask questions to other students if you can’t figure something out. There are a lot of AU students who can help you. Take your time and read through the course study guide. Reach out to your tutors when you need to and ask questions, they are there to help you. Just breathe! You’ve got this!”

Brandi Mills, Bachelor of Professional Arts

Focus on what’s important

“Figure out what is important in each course and focus on that. You do not have to do all the work recommended, but you have to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can put your effort where it matters.”

JD Lien, Bachelor of Science

Break up your courses into manageable chunks and then tackle them bit by bit. Although the courses come with suggested timelines, and you know your completion date, it’s easy to procrastinate in this learning model. Schedule yourself due dates and write them down—sticky notes, spreadsheets, whatever you need. It is OK to change your timelines! If you need to make adjustments, do so—and do it without guilt. By writing down and seeing deadlines, you are more likely to stay on target. Then reward yourself for meeting those deadlines! This is hard, but you can do hard things!

Chelsea Giffen, Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations

Smiling father and daugher giving high five, celebrating success, adorable girl with happy dad studying together

Embrace the challenge

“Go for it! Education is an investment in yourself that you will never regret!”

Erika Chomiak, Master of Business Administration

“A degree in its entirety can seem very overwhelming. Try to take it one assignment at a time, take feedback, and try to continue improving—you will succeed!”

Rachel Quesada, Master of Nursing

“Challenge yourself. Don’t write papers on what you know. Go out of your comfort zone and research what you don’t know.”

David Dunwoody, Master of Science in Information Systems

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  • June 28, 2022
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