Paying attention in class, even if it’s online College Life

Hello everyone:

One of the biggest challenges an instructor has is to capture the attention of his or her students. And keep it.

When I was in high school, I had an instructor who would jump up on his desk, if he thought we weren’t paying attention. He was an English instructor and I always thought that was rather undignified.

A psychology teacher of mine would pick up his guitar and start singing “Rocky Raccoon,” if he thought students’ minds were lagging. It was fun but didn’t teach us anything about his subject matter.

In college, I once saw a student do a strip tease to garner the attention of the class while she was giving a speech. It worked. The girls wondered what she would take off next, and the guys hoped it would be good. Her speech was…very effective. She was talking about dressing for success and had a complete business outfit on by the time she finished speaking.

So how do you keep your mind focused? Read the chapter before you hear the lecture on it. Take copious notes (to stay awake!). If you find yourself falling asleep, hold your breath for 15 seconds. Ask questions. Be engaged in what the professor is saying and discuss it with him or her during and outside of class.

If you’re online, ask questions in the Ask the Professor section and send him or her an email to ask for additional information and resources. (Note: Do not do this to the point of annoyance!)

Don’t just sit there like a lump!


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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