Success with Distance Learning

Welcome to the Spring 2021 semester, Lutes! Because of COVID-19, many classes have decided to embrace the Distance Learning model of education. Distance Learning courses bring their own set of challenges and we are here to help! The Center for Student Success and other offices on campus have compiled a list of resources and tips and tricks to help you thrive this semester!

Virtual Tutoring

Virtual tutoring is at your fingertips! Click these links and look for the yellow buttons to make appointments or check drop-in schedules. These services are free to registered students and are especially important as we transition to distance learning.


Tips for being Successful

Research and citation help

Make the most of PLU’s services

  • Lute Telehealth which expands mental health and medical care access to online or over the phone services. (Click here for TeleHealth website)
  • The Center for Student Success is still open and meeting with students to talk about upcoming registration and providing other info. 
  • Academic Assistance is open online for individual appointments and drop-in tutoring
  • Ask-a-librarian chat for questions or if you need help researching.
  • PLU pantry if you are in need of food.
  • Use the Office of Accommodations and Accessibility if you need special assitance. (Click here for OAA website)


Find a study space

  • Somewhere reasonably private/free from distractions.
  • A desk or table that gives proper support.
  • If possible, find somewhere other than your bedroom or at least somewhere other than your bed. Separate where you sleep and where you study!
  • Have everything you need prepared in your space so you don’t need to get up often.

Source, Source

Become familiar with your professor’s online systems

  • Make a habit of checking Sakai or course websites everyday at a certain time.
  • Before using a new virtual program, explore the tool in advance
  • Take advantage of virtual features i.e. “raise your hand” and the whiteboard feature in Zoom.

Source, Source

Manage your time wisely

  • Especially if your class has become asynchronous (look at lectures/do assignments on your own time rather than video call), pick set day and times that you will work on that material.
  • Set goals for each or some classes everyday.
  • Try not to multitask
  • Give yourself breaks! You can try the Pomodoro Method–25 minutes of work, 5 minute breaks.

Source, Source

Have an effective calendar system

  • Distance Learning needs structure; create a study calendar that will help you remember all important dates, like exams, or deadlines for submitting your assignments. You can save your calendar in your computer or in your mobile device, or you can even create a wall planner, which you can mark up and check every time you study.
  • Make use of g-cal!


Build a study plan

  • Plan ahead and map out when your assignments are due.
  • Make to do lists for what you need to do each day or even just each week. 
  • Set up time limits for how long each assignment should take and stick to the time limits as much as you can. 
  • Stay on schedule with a study plan, it can be hard but sticking to the study plan will help so that assignments and tasks do not pile up.


Join or make a virtual study group

  • Studying with groups of 2-3 peers can help learn information in a different way.
  • You can ask each other questions, bounce any ideas you have and quiz each other on any material. 
  • Can help to have a social interaction at a time of isolation and helps to encourage and support each other or even to de-stress.


Advocate for yourself

  • If the way your professor is hosting class is just not working for you, try reaching out to them to see if any accomodations can be made.
  • If you need accomodation for a class because of a disability, reach out to PLU’s OAA (
  • If you don’t have appropriate technology for online learning, submit a request at using a Request Type of “Equipment Reservation Request” to see if Information & Technology Services (I&TS) are able to check a laptop out to you or provide other services.

Stay motivated

  • Finally, don’t underestimate the effort needed to fully commit to your Distance Learning course. To make sure that you stay motivated and engaged in your online learning experience, consider following these tips:
    • Feel free to create your study routine at your own comfortable pace.
    • Decorate your study space with inspirational quotes and pictures.
    • Accept that you will have productive and less productive days.
    • Have healthy snacks nearby to boost your energy.
    • Reward yourself every time you complete a challenging task.
    • Make sure that you take some time for yourself from time to time.
    • Stay positive and keep your chin up


Additional resources

Assignment Planner (Wayne State University)
Developing a Daily Schedule (

Stress Management
Short descriptive readings on stress management (

The Fight Against Procrastination
Beating Procrastination (
Ten Strategies for Combating Procrastination (Oregon State University)

Memory Improvement
An assortment of memory techniques (
Short, descriptive memory principles (Middle Tennessee State University)

Strategies for Difficult Questions (Virginia Tech)
Survival Strategies for Taking Tests (Middle Tennessee State University)
Tips on Test Taking (North Carolina State University)

Other Helpful Links
Adjusting Your Study Habits During COVID
Ask Dr. Math (
Crash Course YouTube channel
Education Portal ( – Free Online Video/Text Lessons)
Exam Hints (Idaho State University)How To Study (
Khan Academy (
Math Tutorial Videos (
Minute Physics YouTube channel
Note Taking Tips (
Online Student’s Manual for Success
Quizlet – Free Online Study Games and Flashcards
Reading Strategies (Idaho State University)
Study Skills Self Help Information (Virginia Tech)
Test Taking Strategies (University of Minnesota, Deluth)
Understanding Textbooks