Online and Remote Learning: Tips for Students with ADHD
Consider the following tips and strategies as you navigate online, remote classes at UNC. Adapt these suggestions to best suit how you learn and work optimally.
People with ADHD often benefit from a structured schedule. How will you create this for yourself?
How will you ensure each day has a predictable rhythm?
- Wake up and go to bed at about the same time daily
- Try alarms to keep you on schedule
How will you use a calendar to keep you on track?
- Mark when you need to be present for real-time online classes, for instructor-led review sessions, or for study groups with peers
- Update your calendar if test dates and other due dates have been changed
How will you create a study schedule?
- Mark your calendar with “appointments” for independent studying, reading, and assignment completion for each class
Earmarking a space dedicated for study will help you stay organized and productive. What will your study space look like?
What enhances your overall focus and productivity?
- Explore if you work best with quiet or ambient noise
- Try turning off your phone for set periods of time
- Internet blocking sites can help you stay away from time-wasters online
How will you minimize distractions from family members, roommates?
- Try a white noise machine or app to drown out voices
- Use noise cancelling headphones
- Create agreements with others about when and where you’ll study
How will you stay engaged and alert?
- If you’re studying in a bedroom and you’re inclined to nap, avoid studying on your bed
- Use the Pomodoro Technique to study in short segments and then take a short break. Repeat this process.
How will you keep your materials organized?
- Try separate folders for each class – both digital and hard-copy
- Take a few minutes at the end of each day to sort through papers, files, emails, etc. Anything need to be tossed, deleted, refiled?
Starting each day and each week with clear and concrete goals will give your days purpose and structure.
Any large papers or projects due at the end of the semester?
- Break down projects into a series of discrete steps, and schedule these steps into your calendar. Try working backwards from the due date.
What do you want and need to accomplish for each class in the coming week?
- List steps to make progress on these tasks, and earmark possible dates in your calendar to work on these tasks
What do you need and want to accomplish for each class today?
- Guesstimate how much time might you need to allocate for each task, and draft a daily schedule
Would it be helpful to have an accountability partner to help you stay productive and on track?
- If a parent, friend or sibling can play this role, think about what this might look like: texts, in-person reporting?
Practice regular communication
Communication will be critical to stay connected to all parts of your academic life while you’re away from campus.
- Are you familiar with how each of your professors use Sakai? What new features in Sakai might your professor use with online instruction?
- If you’ve relied on getting information from your instructors while in class, what routines could you set up to use Sakai more regularly?
- How will you communicate with professors if you have questions or need help?
- How will you communicate with classmates?
- How and when will you keep in touch with friends?
Practice self care
Just like when you’re on campus, it will still be important to take good care of yourself so that you can be at your best.
- If you have an exercise regimen, how might it need to be adapted?
- What will you do to manage stress and anxiety?
- What will you do to ensure adequate sleep and good nutrition?
Click here for links to handouts and resources to assist you with online classes and studying.
Click here for links to ADHD-friendly apps, technology and more.
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