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Help! What to Do When You’re Stumped with Online Homework

Tips and tricks on how to navigate resources when you’re an online student

Working adults don’t always have the time to sit and work on homework for hours and hours. They have busy lives, jobs, kids and unending laundry lists of chores, day in and day out. When they become stumped on homework, they often need help fast.

But where do you go and who do you reach out to when you’re working toward an online degree?

Jennifer Barker may be able to help. Barker is the vice president of advisement and student solutions at University of Phoenix and manages academic counselors who often help students answer these very questions. She suggested some beneficial techniques and integrated procedural work flows purposefully implemented to solve this problem.

As a university, we strive to fit into our student’s busy lives and provide digital resources to help them be successful no matter where they are.

Here are a few tips from Barker on what to do when you’re stumped with online homework.

Contact classmates through discussion boards

The open discussion boards within each online class can be one of the best and most underutilized resources for help. The instructors (typically) check these often. This can also be used as a means for students to help other students, thus compounding the learning experience.

Bottom line, the course discussion boards are one of your greatest assets in college online classes. Use them for more than just the required discussion posts.

Utilize other resources, tips and tricks

Online resources outside of your LMS can also be a great help. There are many places you can go for help — some reliable and others not so much. Understanding how to seek the vetted sources and omit the proliferated jargon is an exceptional technique to have in the digital world where information can be one click away.

If you enter “” or “” after your search terms in Google, then only results from schools or public government entities will populate in the search page. These will generally be reliable sources to further assist in your research.

Many online students like to use YouTube for quick information, lectures, tutorials and more. It’s crucial to ensure you’re viewing material from an accredited university or other reliable source. The other option is to make sure that the content curator has listed or properly cited their sources, and they are valid, reliable and support the information given.

Don’t forget about your textbooks

If all else fails, the answers are very likely in your online textbook or assigned readings, but they may not always be in the current chapter. While this may seem obvious to some, other students may not necessarily know that every online book comes with a helpful alphabetized index.

Search some terms in the index that are related to your work, and source the help this way. Most online textbooks have a digital index that is extremely easy to navigate and use.

Benefit from a brief break

Sometimes when you’re totally stumped on something, the answer lies in momentarily removing yourself from the situation. Go do something else you enjoy for a while. This will give your mind a chance to reset itself.

Initiating physical activity can be particularly beneficial. Research has shown that taking active breaks from studying or working can help to increase productivity, as well as mental attitudes towards the work being done.

Take a brisk walk, pump out a few push-ups, see how long you can hold a wall-sit, and then get back to it.

Barker said that these resources can help build a strong community so students can support one another throughout their journey.

“These, in conjunction with the others, continue to bridge the gap and offer students direct access to assistance on a near effortless basis thanks to digitalization,” she said.