Completing assigned readings, attending class (lecture, recitation, lab or seminar), taking notes, and reviewing and practicing with content are the building blocks of learning and studying in the college environment. Professors and instructors assign reading, conduct lectures, and hold class discussions and labs to communicate a large volume of information in a variety of formats. In a university setting, it is the student’s responsibility to read, take notes, and learn much of the information outside of class in preparation for the tests and assignments. For students taking classes online, these habits are especially important. In an online environment, “attending class” may consist of spending more time reading a variety of source materials, participating in online discussions, and engaging in weekly assignments.
The way to learn this information is through reading, reviewing notes, and completing homework assignments. Because this level of independent learning is a major difference between high school and college, it takes time and effort to get used to these expectations. It takes attention and effort to hone the skills needed to study effectively and efficiently. The cycle below indicates that reading, taking notes, and practicing problems or actively recalling information are the building blocks for actively learning information. Every week of the term, new information is introduced through lectures and discussions in class and readings outside of class. We recommend you spend 80% of your study time engaged in reading, taking notes, and actively reviewing material for that week, and 20% of your study time reviewing material from prior weeks. This system helps you stay caught up and keeps you from forgetting information from earlier in the term.
Sometimes it can be hard to think of new strategies to be engaged in active learning - we've got some ideas for you, though! Check out these Active Learning Techniques, and also these Homework & Weekly Practice tips. If you've got more questions, track us down for some answers. Meet with an Academic Coach! They can help you think through where you are, what you're experiencing, and where you want to be.