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Your Guide to Remote Learning: 3 Tips to Elevate Your Online Learning Experience

How can you create the perfect at-home learning space? Start here. 

In the past, getting a degree online meant choosing between a narrow subset of options. In 2024, however, online learning is now a norm for many students, especially those looking to gain new skills or switch career paths. 

But while the rise of online learning has further normalized getting an online degree and learning from home, it isn’t without its challenges, including increased distractions, trouble connecting with peers, and overall boredom. 

To combat finding yourself in a remote learning slump, try these three tips to avoid burnout and help elevate your online learning experience.

1. Declutter your space 

Without the spatial structure of an office or classroom, concentrating on the task at hand can be even more difficult. And without the obligation to be somewhere in person, the temptation to log into class or work from your bed can be all the more alluring. However, creating an organized space to complete your work is a critical first step in ensuring success when learning from home. 

If possible, working from a desk (even one that’s in your bedroom) is ideal. To mimic the feeling of a traditional learning space, adding a calendar or even some personal photos to your desk set-up can recreate the essence of a typical work setting. If you are studying from your bedroom, make sure your room is free of clutter, and your bed is made. Going even further, taking a few minutes out of your morning routine to declutter your space can be a great habit to build. If you start doing this daily, the act of preparing your remote learning space will eventually feel as natural as brushing your teeth. While these may seem like minimal changes, they can make all the difference in your productivity.

While learning from home, it’s also just as important to declutter mentally and digitally as it is physically. This can mean different things for different learners. For example, turning your phone and laptop on “Do Not Disturb” while doing schoolwork is a great way to ensure your brain isn’t running in a million different directions and mentally cluttered with messages to respond to. 

Decluttering your digital space, as your laptop is now your classroom, can also be a major help. Start by archiving old assignments you don’t actively need and organizing school files into distinct folders on your computer. While your LMS, or Learning Management System, will facilitate where you can find and submit assignments, keeping track of your personal copies and files of assignments is a great way to stay organized and ensure academic success. To brush up on other online learning terms like LMS, read our virtual vocabulary blog post.

The Office of Online Student Success at the College of Professional Studies can also serve as a resource to help you navigate the ins and outs of remote learning. By offering a wide range of strategies to help you feel more comfortable in the online environment, OSS is there to provide students with resources that empower them to reach their goals while earning their degree online. 


2. Minimize external distractions

Whether it’s the barking of a dog, the buzzing of a TV, or the calls of a child, learning from home can present many more distractions than the traditional classroom setting. When learning remotely, it’s important to set boundaries with those that you live with to ensure a calm work environment that produces the same levels of productivity you would achieve in person. 

Investing in noise-canceling headphones, closing your bedroom or office door, and communicating with your household that work means work are just a few ways you can do this. 

Additionally, it’s important to limit digital distractions, such as scrolling through social media, texting friends, or engaging in other non-school-related activities. A 2019 study published in the Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning found that the use of technology in class for noneducational purposes was distracting to almost half of students, with 49 percent of students surveyed saying “off-task” technology use was distracting to them. For a refresher on what technology you should be using during online learning, check out our technical requirements guide.

Time-based focus strategies, such as the Pomodoro Technique, a time-management strategy based on 25-minute focused work intervals followed by five-minute breaks, have also proven successful in helping students lock in without distraction. While you might’ve heard of this method before, it’s worth revisiting— researchers at University of California, Irvine found it can take nearly 23 minutes to resume work after an interruption. So, time-blocking might just be your new best bet for minimizing distractions.

While online learning can be filled with distractions of everyday life, it’s important to minimize these distractions as much as possible to maximize the unique benefits of learning from home. Whether you’re a 9-5 working parent, a traveling entrepreneur, or just someone looking to revisit your education, remote learning is a great way to work towards your goals without disrupting your existing life. 


3. Develop a routine

Taking classes online means that you won’t be doing things like walking to class, driving the same route to campus, or beginning your day with some sort of journey that acts as a buffer between your morning and the beginning of your school day. 

While cutting out commuting time is great for time-saving, it’s still important to develop a sense of routine, even if you’re online. If you’re enrolled in one of our many online undergraduate programs, which feature synchronous classes, you can organize your schedule around the times you know you’ll be logged into class. 

For example, if you have class at the same time every Monday morning, it can be tempting to wake up 10 minutes before your lesson starts. However, taking the extra time to wake up 30 minutes earlier to clean your space, make breakfast, and review your to-do list for the class, can not only ensure you feel more prepared and productive but also aid in creating a sense of routine while learning from home. 

Remote learning is the perfect route for those who want to expand their knowledge while also juggling multiple commitments in their lives. There are countless benefits— you can continue working, pursue your side gig, or take care of your family, all while completing a degree. 

At the College of Professional Studies, our online undergraduate programs were designed to fit into your routine, not reroute it. With the addition of some new habits, you can develop a routine that accommodates your existing life, while also serving you on your new educational journey. 


The next time you find yourself in a rut while studying from home, try incorporating these tips into your week— after all, when you’re doing something as significant as getting an education from the comfort of your bedroom, small changes can make a big difference!

To learn more about our online programs, visit our academics page to see how learning from home can work for you.

By Isabel Bekele 

Career Corner: Fast Facts About a Career in Cybersecurity

Considering a career in cybersecurity? Here’s what you should know about this lucrative and exciting field.

When you picture a “cybersecurity expert,” you may envision the Hollywood version: a person typing away in a white van or surrounded by computers in a control room. 

In reality, cybersecurity is not a career path that exists solely on the big screen. As more of our professional world becomes digitized, cybersecurity experts are the key to ensuring that the data businesses, organizations, and governments share stays private and uncompromised. 

Cybersecurity is a career path growing in both need and popularity. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were over 700,000 open roles in cybersecurity as of August 2022. Jobs for information analysts are expected to jump 32 percent from 2022 to 2032, a clear indication the field is on the rise. According to staffing agency Mondo, the average salary for a cybersecurity analyst in the U.S. can be anywhere from $102,000 to $208,000.

What can you do with a degree in cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a diverse field with a wide range of roles. Virtually every organization– from hospitals to universities– has data they need to protect, which means the need for cybersecurity analysts exists in every sector. Below are just a few examples of what a role in cybersecurity can look like for you:

  • Computer forensic analysts evaluate technology to recover data. They often aid in gathering information that police can use during criminal investigations, mainly focused on cybercrime.
  • Security consultants are professionals who inform businesses on how they can upgrade their security protocols. They develop strategies for making businesses keep their data more secure.  
  • Security specialists are those in charge of monitoring a company’s potential breaches. They address cyberattacks in real time and edit security measures to prevent attacks in the future.

Beyond these roles, cybersecurity can also venture into related fields such as:

  • Information Security
  • Network Setup
  • Core Database, Coding and Scripting
  • Auditing
  • Network Protocols
  • Systems Administration
  • Health Care 
  • Finance and Accounting

Is Cybersecurity right for you?

Being a cybersecurity professional may be the right field for you if you’re passionate about technology, but are more interested in the privacy side, and don’t see yourself studying in a program such as software engineering or computer science. 

For those with an interest in compliance, national security, or data protection, cybersecurity is a career path that can provide both personal and professional fulfillment. A career in cybersecurity means that you’ll play a vital role in whatever business or organization you become a part of, and can rest assured in knowing that you’re keeping your coworkers’ work safe and secure. 

At Syracuse University, our Bachelor of Professional Studies program in Cybersecurity Administration provides essential skills for managing the people and technologies that protect information, information systems, and infrastructures. The 120-credit program gives students an understanding of network setup, database coding, and systems administration. It’s also 100 percent online, has six start dates, and is accommodating to part-time students.

A B.P.S. degree is different from a normal degree in that it’s more career-oriented, meaning the program is hyper focused on providing you with the necessary skills for your intended profession. If a full degree isn’t the right choice for you at this time, Syracuse University also offers a 15-credit Cybersecurity Certificate. 

Ready to learn how you can start your journey in this exciting field? Read more about our programs here, and see how you can get started in cybersecurity today.

By Isabel Bekele 

Syracuse University Ranks No. 1 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs of Private Universities

Syracuse University continues to rank as one of the top private universities in the nation for online undergraduate education, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2024 Best Online Programs rankings.

Syracuse University’s AACSB-accredited business management degree, a partnership between the College of Professional Studies and the Whitman School of Management, ranked No. 1 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs of private universities, while Syracuse University additionally ranked No. 3 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans of private universities and No. 5 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs of private universities.

“This recognition as a top 5 private university for online undergraduate education is not achieved without an unwavering commitment to exceedingly high-quality course designs, rigorous curricula and learning, and a differentiated level of superior student support,” says Michael Frasciello, dean of the College of Professional Studies. “This recognition is also notable as this is only our fourth year participating in the rankings, illustrating our excellence among our peer institutions and our distinction among private universities.”

The College of Professional Studies currently offers 12 Syracuse University online undergraduate degrees, eight online undergraduate credit certificates, as well as a master of professional studies and a certificate of advanced study in project management.

With high-touch admissions, advising, and financial aid counseling, the College of Professional Studies continuously prioritizes student success. The holistic treatment of the online student experience expands the definition of what it means to be an online learner, and the thoughtful design of the online programs provides access to a Syracuse University credential for those who otherwise could not earn one on campus.

The University’s No. 3 ranking as the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans of private universities is a recognition of Syracuse University’s commitment to being the best school for veterans, active military, and military-connected students. Syracuse is the only R1 private university in the Northeast that offers online and residential part-time undergraduate study to active-duty military, National Guard, and reservists at their respective tuition assistance (TA) rates beyond the member’s annual benefit. Active-duty and reserve students pay no more than the current DoD TA rate after they expend their annual TA allotment.

“Ranking No. 3 in the Best Veterans programs of private universities is a demonstration of our dedication to the superior support we have established for veterans and military-connected students,” Frasciello says.  

To learn more about continuing online education, visit professionalstudies.syracuse.edu.


About the College of Professional Studies

The College of Professional Studies is a global, inclusive and future-facing college, providing access to diverse students and learners seeking a Syracuse University degree, credential, certificate, or education experience.

Austin Zwick Co-authors Article Examining the Smart City Generational Model

Austin Zwick, assistant teaching professor and program director of the B.P.S. in Policy Studies program at the College of Professional Studies at Syracuse University, co-authored the paper “Examining the Smart City Generational Model: Conceptualizations, Implementations, and Infrastructure Canada’s Smart City Challenge” with Zachary Spicer, an associate professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at York University. The article was published in the Urban Affairs Review.

Abstract:

Cohen’s Smart City Generational model has been the basis of understanding for the evolution of the Smart Cities movement. However, how does this model align with practitioners’ conceptualization of the term? Our research focuses on Infrastructure Canada’s Smart City Challenge (SCC). Through 14 primary interviews and 20 finalist applications, this research reveals that practitioners overwhelmingly understand Smart City building as a government-driven, data-centric endeavor (Smart City 2.0), as opposed to being about vendor transactions (Smart City 1.0), resident engagement (Smart City 3.0), or community co-creation (Smart City 4.0), where the specific technology is of secondary importance to project objectives. We conclude that, rather than moving through distinct generations, the smart cities movement should be understood as a gradual process of municipal public administration modernization as local governments are becoming increasingly savvy and experienced about contracting with technology firms to address urban problems.

How the Center for Online and Digital Learning is Redefining Online Education

The Center for Online and Digital Learning at Syracuse University celebrated a new chapter of innovative online education at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 9.

Founded in 2017 as a signature One University initiative within the College of Professional Studies, the Center for Online and Digital Learning is the unit that develops Syracuse University’s world-class online programs and meets “the needs of students seeking a Syracuse University education from anywhere in the world.” The Center for Online and Digital Learning has moved up the hill to 100 Sims Drive from its previous location at the College of Professional Studies at 700 University Ave. The newly renovated and expanded space positions the Center for Online and Digital Learning for success as Syracuse University’s portfolio of online programs rapidly grows.

 

“Quality, scalability, and innovation have always been at the core of our mission,” says Dr. Judy Teng, executive director of the Center for Online and Digital Learning. “Our new facility allows us to reimagine the online learning experience, while our cutting-edge technology and methodologies allow us to enhance teaching and learning.”  

The University has positioned itself to offer more engaging online learning possibilities for graduate and undergraduate students as the Center for Online and Digital Learning grows substantially, says Jim Gaffey, executive director of administration and strategy at the College of Professional Studies.

“This new facility signifies the University’s investment in the Center for Online and Digital Learning and also recognizes the growth of online programs,” Gaffey says. “We want students to have the most up-to-date information available, and these new resources will allow us to refresh courses at a faster rate to better serve our students.”

 

 

Ranked at No. 21 among national universities and ranked No. 5 for private schools in the U.S. News & World Report 2023 Best Online Programs rankings, Syracuse University has proven its commitment to online education.

“The Center for Online and Digital Learning is in the vanguard of Syracuse University’s efforts to face head-on the many disruptions to higher education—to produce and align differentiated academic offerings for a rapidly changing marketplace. Through the talent, creativity, innovation, experimentation, and excellence located at the Center, Syracuse University will achieve its online and digital innovation goals over the next 20 years,” says Michael Frasciello, dean of the College of Professional Studies.


About the Center for Online and Digital Learning

The Center for Online and Digital Learning provides evaluation, development, and delivery of world-class online programs at Syracuse University.

About the College of Professional Studies

The College of Professional Studies is a global, inclusive and future-facing college, providing access to diverse students and learners seeking a Syracuse University degree, credential, certificate, or education experience.