An online class may involve the same material as a traditionally-taught class but it requires a different kind of mindset.

Online classes mean you’re a lot more independent with regard to logging in to class and being engaged in your lessons.

However, for the right, driven student, you might find yourself lovingyour online classroom experiencewhile earning a degree or certification.

Here are a few tools you might want to have as you start your online learning journey.

1.  The right technology

Whether you’re taking an Amazon Master Classor a Front End Develop boot camp class, you’ll want the right piece of technology to help you efficiently get through all of your online lessons. One choice you’ll have to make is deciding between a workstation vs laptop setup. Curious as to what the differences are between them?

Here are the main variances:

Features of a workstation

  • Designed for RAM and processor-heavy operations like 3D animation, data analysis, and video editing
  • Several processor cores
    • The more cores, the more the PC can handle: more programs can be run simultaneously, for example
  • Solid-state drives (SSDs)
    • No moving parts
    • Works faster than traditional HDDs
  • More robust graphics processing unity
    • Upgraded GPU to handle more intense graphics and 3D rendering
  • ECC memory
    • Better at correcting corrupt files

Features of a laptop

  • Good for less RAM-intensive operations like using the web, document processing, and email
  • Up to 1TB of storage
  • Better-performing 8th Generation Intel i7 processors available
  • Great for casual, day-to-day needs

The key to knowing which is right for you and your particular situation is knowing exactly what kinds of operations you’re going to have to perform with your computer. If you’re going to be attending an online course for Adobe Photoshop or 3D animation, it’s likely you will need the more intense processing power of a mobile workstation. Only a mobile workstation will provide you with the power and capability to handle these kinds of applications and software.

On the other hand, if you’ve enrolled in an 18th Century History course, you probably only need a traditional laptop. A regular laptop or notebook provides all of the power you require for researching, creating PDFs, processing documents, and surfing the web during your time off from school.


2.  Access to the right software, books, and important contacts

Another crucial tool you’ll need for your online class is the software and contact information of administrators and teachers. Buy or rent your textbooks several weeks before your class starts so you’re not rushing before logging in on your first day. In addition, this will ensure that you can do any homework assignments during the first few weeks of school instead of starting out the class behind because you don’t have all of the required textbooks yet.


It’s also important that you know who the administrators, professors, and teachers’ assistants are for the class. Obviously, there’s a high likelihood that you won’t see these people outside of a video-lecture, or maybe at all, if your class isn’t video-lecture based. With that said, make sure that you have all the contact information in case you have issues turning in assignments or questions about exams or the course material.



3.  Set up a perfect classroom environment

As an online student, it’s going to be very important that you set up a special space in your apartment or even just set aside a corner of your room for learning. When you’re trying to focus on your class, make sure you don’t lie in your bed – this doesn’t promote an alert learning environment. Here are some considerations you might want to make for creating a productive study space:

  • A standing desk: If you can afford a standing desk, this is a great option for those who need a little extra help staying alert.
  • Great lighting:Choose unique lighting that provides you with nice, bright white light.
  • Plants: Plants are clinically proven to reduce stress, so add a few succulentsto liven up your study space.



When you’re preparing for an online course, it can be a little intimidating if you’re used to a traditional classroom experience.

However, by taking the time to gather the right tools and setting up a space conducive to learning, you can be ready to take on any lesson that gets thrown your way.

Online courses allow for flexibility and, when used properly, can be a major advantage for a variety of people, especially those who work while pursuing an education.

3 Tools You Need Before Starting an Online Course