How to catch up in an online course

May 10, 2022 · 2 min read · By ASU Online
Falling behind in class? Check out these tips for catching up in an online course, staying on track and accomplishing your goals.

Follow these guidelines to avoid falling behind in class 

Many online students have full-time jobs, families or other obligations that make it difficult to stay on top of online coursework. It’s possible to fall behind, especially when you’re just starting ASU Online courses. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to bounce back and minimize distractions in online learning.

  • Reach out to your professors

Professors would rather hear from you before you begin falling behind in class. Professors are often accessible via email, Zoom or Canvas to discuss your concerns regarding ASU Online courses and come up with a plan to help you succeed.

  • Collaborate with peers

If you find yourself falling behind in class, you’re not alone. Other online students are likely dealing with similar challenges in coursework, managing technology and more. Reach out to and collaborate with your peers. Being open about your personal struggles will help you realize you’re not alone and help you maintain a connection with others. Work together on assignments when you’re able and support each other throughout the semester.

  • Eliminate distractions from your learning environment

Managing distractions as an online student is critical. Establish an area specifically for school work that works best for you, whether it be a desk, couch or dinner table. Eliminate any possible distractions from the area. For many, having a television, cell phone or music nearby can be too distracting. If this is the case, find an environment that limits your distractions in online learning.

  • Plan ahead

Using an academic calendar can help you stay organized and prevent you from falling behind in class. Document upcoming assignments, quizzes and exams and set aside time in your day to study. Writing your schedule down or setting reminders in your phone or computer can also help you remember important upcoming ASU Online course events and stop you from forgetting assignments with your busy schedule.

  • Leverage the way you learn best

Know your learning style and take advantage of it. Knowing how you learn best can help benefit you in the long run. There are four main styles of learning.

Auditory: Auditory learners pick up information through listening and benefit from playing lectures back or collaborating face-to-face with others.

Kinesthetic: Kinesthetic learners are more hands-on and learn best when utilizing all of their senses. As a kinesthetic learner, you should take advantage of in-person ASU Online course opportunities, field trips and virtual meetings.

Reading and writing: Those who learn best through reading and writing acquire new knowledge through note taking, worksheets and presentations.

Visual: Visual learners are those who retain information best when it’s presented graphically. If you’re a visual learner, you may benefit from rewatching ASU Online course lectures or mapping out concepts.

  • Don’t stress, take action

If you're falling behind in class, don’t stress. Your advisor and professors are there to support and guide you throughout the semester. Figure out what works best for you and do your best to stay on track.

ASU Online’s director of student services said it best: “When circumstances are flagged earlier, it's much easier to work toward a solution and get back on track than if students don't raise the issue until late in the semester.”

For more resources and advice on virtual learning, check out ASU Online’s student services page.


ASU Online’s student success services

ASU Online offers a wide range of student success services, empowering you from enrollment to graduation. Get the details on the many services available to you.


About ASU Online

Earn your degree completely online from the nation's most innovative university. ASU Online offers more than 300 degree programs and certificates in high-demand areas such as nursing, engineering, business, education and more. Explore all of our areas of study.

Our offerings include:

  • Elite expertise and research.
  • Innovative curriculum design.
  • Superior student support services.

Learn more at our about us page. And follow ASU Online on Facebook, YouTube, X and Instagram, and connect with us on LinkedIn.

Step 1 of 2

Request information

To learn more about ASU Online or a specific program, fill out the form below and check your email for information on next steps.

* Indicates a required field