Online School 101: Advice for Distance Learning


Photo Credit: Carlos Johnson

Carlos Johnson, OwlFeed Managing Editor

Right now, the Agua Fria community, students and teachers are currently not able to learn and teach traditionally. Today, everyone is being taught in the comfort of their own homes, without the physical presence of friends and teachers.

At first, everyone was in chaos, not knowing how to grasp such a hard task. Today, some of Agua Fria’s community have gotten a better grasp of distance learning (myself included), and are ready to give advice to help those who still may be struggling.

A good place to start is having some sort of to-do list. There, you will see everything you need to get done and you will not have to worry about doing something you forgot.

“I have notes on my phone with everything I have in all of my classes,” said Sydnee Messerschmidt, a senior at Agua Fria. “When I am done, I strike through them.”

Photo Credit: Carlos Johnson

Make this the first thing you do every day. As soon as you get an email or a Classroom announcement from your teachers about the day’s assignment, put it on your list. When it is done, mark it in some way signifying that you completed it. This is a great organizational tool for those who struggle to stay on top of their tasks.

Another important thing is to make sure you are not distracted. If you need your phone for an assignment, put it on airplane mode when possible, so you don’t get text messages or TikTok notifications.

You need to make sure that your surroundings will not get in the way of your work. Listening to music is a good way to tune out people and grind out your work.

“When I work, I listen to classical music to keep me from getting distracted,” said Jake Swartwood, a senior at Agua Fria. “It takes me about two hours to complete one day’s worth of work.”

“I put my phone behind my computer so I don’t see it when I am working,”  Messerschmidt said.

One thing to avoid is doing all of your assignments in bed. When you work in your bed, you will still learn, but it won’t make your life any happier.

“Doing your work in bed diminishes your work ethic quite a bit,”  Messerschmidt said. “Doing so will not feel like school and you will fall into a deeper hole of depression.”

For those who simply don’t have the motivation to get the work done, here are some things you need to know. As long as you try to do your work, your grade will NOT get lower than your Quarter 3 grade, which was your grade prior to Spring Break. If you are one of the lucky students who have all A’s and B’s, just participate in your classes, do the Culminating Activity, and you will keep those grades and get your credits.

It is imperative that we continue to participate. If you don’t, you may get an “Incomplete” where you will have to make up the class to receive your credit. This is especially important for seniors if they want to graduate.

“To many, this seems like a waste of time but everyone still needs to pass their classes and get their credits,”  Swartwood said. “The seniors need to get the credits, so they might as well just finish up the course.”

“Nobody is going to do the work for you,”  Messerschmidt said. “You must do the work while balancing your happiness.”

Another big motivator for many is to get it done earlier so you have more time in your day to do whatever you want. For me, I try to finish my work by noon so I can play video games or just relax.

“What motivates me is what I get to do when I finish my work,”  Messerschmidt said. “When my work is done, I can work out, practice lightsaber tricks, or play Animal Crossing.”

There are many ways to go about this new learning process. With so much freedom, it is up to us to find what is most beneficial for our style of learning. 


The best way for you to learn starts by figuring it out through trial and error. Everyone learns differently.