What do I need for online education?

Online classes

Online school supply list for online students

Depending on your individual needs, we suggest the following definitive online school  supply list so you’re prepared to start the semester right.

A reliable computer and internet access

You’ll need a reliable computer that operates at a good speed and is able to handle a variety of different programs for your online education. This doesn’t mean you have to splurge on the latest and most expensive model, but you should be able to work with minimal issues. Your internet should also be reasonably fast and reliable, and it’s not a bad idea to come up with a few backup options for getting online if your primary connection is having issues.

A comfortable chair

Unlike in a traditional college setting where students tend to move from one classroom to another, you may find yourself sitting in one spot for a while as you engage in online learning. With this in mind, you should have a comfortable chair that you can adjust to the right level to see your computer easily.

A separate workspace

Carve out a separate school area with a desk and room for your binders, textbooks and other items. This will help you focus and get down to work more easily than if you were working on your couch or bed.

Any necessary software

The software you’ll need for online learning will probably be covered by Microsoft Office 365. UTEP lets students install the latest version of Office 365 on up to five personal computers and mobile devices, giving you access to programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote.

Earphones or earbuds

When you’re listening to a lecture, the people around you probably won’t want to hear it, whether you’re at home, in a library or at a coffee shop. Getting a set of earphones or earbuds will help ensure you don’t disturb those around you, and can also drown out outside noise to minimize distractions.

Printer and printer paper

Even though many assignments can be submitted online, you may want to print items for your records or to access offline. Printing a syllabus for each course and keeping it within easy reach also assists with organization.

Traditional school supplies

Much of your work will be done on the computer, but you’ll still want items such as pens, pencils, highlighters, binders and notebook paper on hand. Depending on the courses you take, you may also need to purchase textbooks and supplemental texts.

An online or paper calendar

Keeping track of daily assignments and ongoing deadlines throughout the semester is imperative to your online learning success. An online or old-school paper calendar will help you make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

A backpack

You may think you won't need a backpack for online school since you won't be going from classroom to classroom. However, owning a backpack with room for a laptop, books and other supplies will prove useful when you head to a study session with a classmate or move to another location for a change of scenery.

Tips for Students Transitioning to Online Learning

Here are six tips to help students transition to online learning to make sure they make the most of it and avoid the pitfalls of transitioning to online education.

1. Set a ScheduleInstead of following your on-campus schedule from class to class, now you need to set and keep a new one. Plan time for reading, studying and engaging online every day.

2. Organize Your Online & Offline SpacesCreate space for doing schoolwork physically at your home and virtually on your computer. Keep separate online or offline folders for each class. Organizing now saves time later.

3. Don’t WaitYou may be tempted to cruise for a while with your newly found free time – don’t! Start your coursework early and finish it as soon as you can.

4. Get on the GridReach out right away with requests for help by contacting your instructors and classmates. Stay in touch. Being connected is a key to online education success.

5. Dig DeeperOnline instructors will give you a great foundation for your studies. Your job is to dig deeper into the material and beyond to reinforce your mastery of the topic.

6. Enlist Family and FriendsTalk about what you’re studying with people close to you. They can help keep you on task, and they might enjoy finding out more about what you are learning.

How You Can Overcome the 5 Online Learning Challenges

  1. Online Learning Relies Heavily on Technology. Let's face it.
  2. Online Students Must Be Self-Motivated.
  3. Online Programs Require Virtual Communication.
  4. Time Management Skills Are Crucial for Online Classes.
  5. Online Students Must Team Up with a Virtual Learning Community.


Fully online schools have typically made much more use of video, both asynchronously (videos watched anywhere, anytime) and synchronously (video in a virtual classroom space for live classes, office hours, and student collaboration).

Video has been a key part of online education for years now, especially for lecture capture, video reference libraries, and where professors convey most of the content with a video, and then use the contact hours to review, answer questions, etc.

Disadvantages for online learning

Yes, not everything is perfect and online learning might not be the right choice for you or your child. There are difficulties, of course, but the biggest problem for online learning is motivation followed by control and lack of planning.

Another problem is with children in preschool or primary school and their parents. Their schools force those pupils into online education. Next to the social problems this might cause, a big problem is how to guide your children to follow the online class? Not to mention the financial anxieties of buying all the computers and finding space for the children to learn!

  • Online student feedback is limited.
  • Using E-Learning can cause social Isolation.
  • E-Learning requires strong self-motivation and time management skills.
  • Lack of communicational skill development in online students.
  • Cheating prevention during online assessments is complicated.



And than ... there is a lack of willingness and desire to learn. Students are simply not motivated in online classes. They are usually easy A's and are time efficient, but student learning outcomes tend to be lackluster. Because online courses tend to have more than 100 students, most of the assignments are short and simple.

Laptops for online learning

Laptops for online learning



What kind of computer do I need for online classes?

A computer with the following basic specs should be sufficient for online education:
  • 250 GB hard drive or higher
  • 4 GB RAM or higher
  • 2.0 GHz Intel or AMD processor
  • Windows 10 or MAC OS 10.10 or later
  • Microsoft Edge, Firefox 48 or later
  • Safari 11 or later
  • Anti-virus program (updated regularly)
  • Computer microphone and speakers
  • Web Camera
  • High-speed Wi-Fi connection obtained either at home (preferred for the best study setting) or via an outside source, such as the library, a quiet restaurant, etc.


Choosing the Best Laptop for online education?

  1. Lenovo Yoga 920. $1,149.99
  2. HP Spectre X360. $1,149.99
  3. Dell XPS 15. $999.99
  4. Apple 15-inch Macbook Pro, Retina, Touch Bar. $2,399.99
  5. Apple Macbook Pro 13-Inch (2017). $1,199.99
  6. Microsoft Surface Laptop. $999.99
  7. HP Chromebook 13. $1,499.99
  8. Apple Macbook Air 13.3-Inch. $999.99
  9. Microsoft Surface Book. $1,499.99
  10. ASUS VivoBook W202. $279.00
  11. Microsoft Surface Pro. $799.00
  12. Asus F556UA-AB32. $700.00.
  13. Dell Chromebook 3189 Education 2-in-1. $349.00
  14. Acer Aspire E 15. $349.99
  15. ASUS Chromebook C202. $229.0


Best Laptop For Zoom

  • Dell Inspiron 15 ($489)
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 7 ($1,263)
  • Apple MacBook Pro ($2,179)
  • Samsung Notebook 9 Pro ($1,299)
  • Acer Swift 7 ($1,199.99)
  • ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 ($1,229.50)
  • LG gram - 15.6" ($1,463.14)

Top Rated Tablets for Zoom

  • Fusion5 Ultra. 2.43 lbs. 10-inch, N/A.
  • Fire HD 10. 1.10 lbs. 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200.
  • ASUS ZenPad 3S 10.
  • Apple iPad. 1.05 lbs.
  • Huawei MediaPad M5. 0.68 lbs.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.
  • Apple iPad Pro.

Where to find online classes?


ALISON has a large range of free, comprehensive classes on technology, languages, science, financial literacy, personal and soft skills, entrepreneurship, and then some. It targets all kinds of learners, from professionals and managers to teachers and freelancers.

2. Udemy

Udemy has plenty to offer for the learner on a budget, from completely free courses taught by experts, professors, entrepreneurs, and professionals, to frequent discounts and class specials. In addition to classes in tech, business, and marketing, you can also explore options in productivity, health, hobbies, and lifestyle.

3. Coursera

If you want to receive a college education without the high cost of tuition, Coursera is the best stop. This website offers amazing courses in all kinds of fields, from professional development to psychology, history, and literature—all created and taught by professors at top institutions nationally and across the globe. Their universities include Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and plenty more.

4. edX

Just like Coursera, edX offers anyone, anywhere the chance to take university classes in various departments—and get certified. Some of their big partners include Harvard, Berkeley, Dartmouth, Georgetown, and the University of Chicago (and that’s not all!).

5. Udacity

Udacity focuses on software development, offering free courses in programming, data science, and web development. The website also offers a nanodegree program for individuals who want to master a skill set or pursue a full-time career in tech.

6. LinkedIn Learning

By subscribing to LinkedIn Learning, you’ll have access to thousands of courses in business, design, art, education, and tech. And it offers a free one-month trial so you can test the waters!

7. General Assembly

General Assembly offers both online and in-person classes, as well as full-time and part-time options. It focuses mainly on digital skills, covering subjects such as digital marketing, iOS and Android development, data analytics, and JavaScript.

8. Skillshare

Skillshare provides “bite-sized” classes to learners who only have 15 minutes a day. It has more than 500 free classes and several thousand premium classes to choose from in topics such as film, writing, tech, lifestyle, and more.

9. LearnSmart

LearnSmart’s oriented toward career development, which is why it’s a great place to learn about IT and security, project management, HR, and business.

10. Codecademy

Codecademy wants to teach you how to, well, code—and for free. It covers all kinds of programming, including JavaScript, Ruby, HTML, CSS, and Python.

11. Pluralsight

After subscribing to Pluralsight (or using its free trial!), you’ll be able to explore classes in software, 3D development, VFX, design, game design, web design, and CAD software.

12. Adobe TV

Not sure how to use Photoshop or InDesign? Don’t worry, Adobe TV will walk you through all its programs with tutorials, manuals, and more.

13. FutureLearn

FutureLearn’s completely free, with classes taught by universities and special organizations. Its big topics are business and management, creative arts, law, health, politics, science, digital skills, sports and leisure, and teaching.

14. Academic Earth

And if you’re looking solely for academic classes, this website is perfect for you. It has courses in the arts, science, humanities, economics, computer science, and more, all for free.

15. Class Central

Discover thousands of free online courses from top universities around the world like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. Take a look and search for your online education courses.

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