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Five Tips for an Amazing Online Semester

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At NSC, we know how to make the best out of a tough situation. Now our goal is to help YOU make the best out of a tough situation. You may be taking more online classes that you had hoped this fall, but as we work through this together, remember that online courses can help you learn just as much as in-person courses, but in a different way. We want to do more than just get by – we want you to thrive, learn, have fun, make connections, and get ready for the next step in your journey. In short, we want you to have an amazing experience. Here is how you can do it:

1. Have a Plan

To be successful in an online course, you’ll need to set aside time each week to review the materials, participate in discussions, and complete projects. If you don’t schedule the time in advance, it can be easy to get behind. Here are a few tips:

  • Start each day with a list. It can be electronic (like Microsoft To Do) or just a list on paper. As you finish items, just check them off.
  • Use a calendar to record all the dates for your major assignments. This will keep papers and projects from surprising you.
  • Develop a routine. Schedule time for work, self-care, helping others, and (of course) rest. The power of habit is remarkable.

2. Stay Connected

Even though we’re all physically distant, we can all still find ways to connect and support one another:

  • Reach out to your instructors. They are there to help. If you are having trouble, let them know.
  • Get involved. Find campus events and activities through our Be Engaged site.
  • Reach out to others. There are still many safe ways to connect with friends and support your communities. For example, you can form virtual study groups, schedule regular check-ins, and even watch online concerts together.

3. Take Charge

Often, online classes ask you to be a bit more self-directed. Use this as an opportunity to take charge of your learning. Here are some tools to help you stay on track:

  • Use the Pomodoro method to be productive. In this approach, you set a timer for 25 minutes and work on a task. Then rest for five minutes. Walk around, stretch, and take some deep breaths. Then start the timer again and continue your task.
  • Study smart! By using the study cycle, you can increase your understanding and retention.

4. Use Your Resources

Our most successful students rely on the support that we provide, including Advising, the Library, the Academic Success Center, the Writing Center, and our Peer Mentors. Use the links below for contact information.

  • The Academic Success Center (ASC) will provide tutoring and supported study sessions/embedded course support online. To book a tutor please visit: For assistance, email us at, call 702-992-2990, or visit our website. Staff will be available to assist you with your study or tutoring needs M-TH 9 am – 7 pm; Friday 9 am – 5 pm; Saturday 9 am – 3 pm. For after-hours support, all students can access online tutoring via their Canvas course home page by clicking on the “Smarthinking Online Tutoring” option.
  • The Writing Center. Writing Specialists will be available throughout the semester for virtual appointments. Remember that the Writing Center is for writers at all levels.
    NSC Support. Having technical issues? Our support team can help. Call (702) 992-2400 or write
  • The Library. Our digital library offers lots of resources and support, including research help via live chat and virtual appointments with friendly librarians.
  • Peer Mentors. If you are new to NSC, you probably have a Peer Mentor assigned. They can help you navigate college challenges using their own experience. Contact for more information.
  • The Student Online Preparedness Course. As an NSC student, you are already enrolled. This online class will help you thrive in your online semester.
  • You can reach out to any of our student support services by clicking “Student Academic Resources” on our Coronavirus resources page.

5. Stay Healthy

Stay focused, stay healthy, and stay positive with these tips:

  • Exercise is even more important now than ever. It will help you feel better both mentally and physically. Make sure you are scheduling time for some kind of exercise every day, even if it is just walking around the block or doing some yoga with an instructor on YouTube.
  • Mental health is equally as important. If you’d like to get a better picture of how you are doing emotionally, try this free Mental Health Screening.
  • If you need someone to talk to, find yourself short on food, or have another challenge that is hindering you from reaching your goals, you can reach out to our Case Manager, Laura Hinojosa. She can help you get connected with the right resources. We even have a way for students to request emergency funds if you are experiencing an unexpected financial hardship.