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English Language Institute

How to Get the Most Out of Your Online Classes

Here are some tips on how to be a successful student and how to participate fully in your online courses.

Be On Time to Class

Most of your professors will allow students to join the class early. Try to log in to each lesson a few minutes before the scheduled meeting time so, if you do have any technical issues, you can fix them before class starts and so you can notify your teacher in plenty of time. This also gives you a few minutes to chat with your classmates and check on their well-being or discuss the answer to that tricky question that was asked on the homework.

If you are a Pace University student and you have any problems with Zoom, you can contact Pace’s Information Technology Services (ITS) by phone at (914) 773-3333, by emailing Pace’s help desk or visiting the IT Help website. For 24 hour service, you can also contact Zoom, free of charge, by phone at 1 (888) 799-0125).

Participate and Communicate

Smiling man studying onlineRemember that in all ELI courses, you get points for participation. This means that your teachers will be noting how much you contributed to each class. Be sure to ask questions, answer questions and offer your insight. Remember that you can do this in the chat room, by raising your hand on Zoom, or by simply speaking up! Also, be sure to communicate with your instructor and classmates outside of Zoom.

Send emails or chat messages to let them know about any difficulties you are experiencing or anything exciting that is happening in your life. Your teachers understand and even expect that you might have some issues during this trying time.

The more you communicate with your instructors and classmates, the better connected to your classes you will be and the more successful you will be.


Learning online Young woman taking notes during online lessonDon’t be distracted by other things that might be going on around you in your home during your lesson. Find a quiet place and let your roommates know that you don’t want to be disturbed. Don’t open other windows on your browser and surf the internet while class is in session. Don’t open apps that you won’t use during your class.

You might be thinking, “Yeah, well, my teacher will never know if I’m shopping for new shoes during our 091R Academic Reading class!” You might also be surprised to know that instructors have a feature on their Zoom pages to alert them when students aren’t focusing the Zoom app!

Be Flexible

Please be patient with teachers and classmates as they learn how to use Zoom. It may take a week or two before you, your classmates and teacher feel fully comfortable using this new technology. Some people will learn quicker than others. Please understand we all are trying our hardest to become fully fluent in this new method of communication.

Practice Good Netiquette

Learning Online Young woman on laptopRemember that online communication is quite different from real life communication. Don’t interrupt your teacher or classmates by speaking over the top of them. If someone is speaking, write the question in the chat room or raise your hand. Don’t abuse your control of the annotate tool by making trivial marks or doodling on the white board or a shared document. Mute your mic when you aren’t speaking so that background noise doesn’t distract your classmates and professor. Turn on your camera when you speak so others can see who is talking (if your bandwidth allows).

Have Fun!

Online learning is fun smiling woman studying onlineOnline classes can be a blast to participate in! Use a virtual background and upload your own photos to use as a virtual background. Come into the Zoom room early and chat with your teacher and classmates about your life in quarantine. Invite classmates to join you in a Zoom room outside of class for study groups, to chat over lunch, or to have a yoga session together! There is so much potential with online learning; you just need to be creative in how you use it!

Read this blog post to learn all the features of Zoom.

Other Resources for Studying Online

If you are interested in learning more about online or other courses at the English Language Institute at Pace University, visit the ELI websitecontact the ELI , or apply here.