Succeeding in an online learning environment

Ever since COVID-19 has shut down schools across the country, students have been scrambling to try and keep up with their online courses. 

Since classes can no longer meet in person, all courses must now be taught online. This means students must be even more disciplined and motivated to study and learn all by themselves at home. Gone for now is the structured teacher-student classroom instruction that has been basic to traditional education.

“This campus shut-down has forced us to think outside the box and be more creative with how we can help our students,” says Elizabeth Bell, supervisor of the JJC Tutoring and Learning Center. 

Bell says since JJC students are not allowed on campus, one-on-one instruction is not possible. “Our tutors must now connect with students differently,” she said. “We are missing that personal interaction with students which is vital to tutoring— but you have to make do.”

In order to maintain some semblance of personal interaction, live student tutoring is now available by video conferencing. Tutors can even register students with a free login to which allows the instructor to gain access to your home computer and view your school lesson along with you.

Ever since the JJC campus has been closed, Bell has noticed students from home are asking more questions regarding navigating technology in order to access their online classes. Even though the department’s 30 full-time tutors cover all subjects, they have seen an uptick for assistance in math, writing papers, and even help doing their chemistry homework.  Since connecting with students at home may take more time with navigating the technology involved, tutoring sessions have been extended an extra 15 minutes to a total of 45 minutes.

Bell says since all classes will again be held in only an online format for the summer term, JJC students would be best to get used to learning at home, at least for now. Bell suggested students follow these home study tips to help them learn on their own:

  1.  Designate a study area for yourself.
  2. Avoid distractions while studying, such as cell phones or television.
  3. Set aside a regular study time each day with scheduled breaks.
  4. Ask your family to respect your study time.
  5. To avoid burnout, limit study segments to no more than a couple hours daily.
  6. Set specific goals of what you need to study or homework that needs completion.
  7. Begin assignments as soon as possible after the class lecture.
  8. Start studying for exams early; avoid cramming.

JJC students are also encouraged to view the department’s video tutorials offered for free until May 15 by Innovative Educators at That link, plus more resources, can be found on the department’s website

If there’s an upside to online courses, Bell says students can set their own study pace at home, as long as they stick to a plan and meet any required course deadlines. Bell also suggests you still take notes by hand while studying your class materials or textbook at home, since the physical process of writing activates a separate part of your brain helping you to remember more material.  

Students can send tutors a request by email at, or call 815-820-2823. All messages are returned within one business day.  Tutors work remotely Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.