I’ve taken quite a few online classes, mostly because the in-class option wasn’t available. Most people find themselves taking online classes because perhaps they want to lighten their course load in the fall, or they enjoy the freedom of sleeping in. Either way, with freedom comes responsibility. So be prepared.
Here is my guide to success:
Develop a Schedule
This must be the most important tip I can offer you. If you aren’t forced to go to class to learn it’s easy to procrastinate and get lazy. Trust me, you’re talking to the girl who put the PRO in procrastinate. I have since developed ways around waiting until the last minute. & It starts with prioritizing your time. Decide how much work is required for the course, and plan it into your schedule. If you do this ahead of time and stick to it, you should stay on track just fine.
Get Yourself a Planner
If you know me, you know my planner is my entire life. But seriously. I would never keep track of my schedule without it! Even if you aren’t taking online classes, a planner is key to success. Trust me. Start out your course writing down ALL DUE DATES. Depending on the course you choose to take you may be responsible for discussion posts, papers, quizzes, and even group projects. Be prepared; online classes are a lot of work. Independent work. I recommend using highlighters or colored pens in your planner to make projects and deadlines stand out. It’s easy to look over something when you are constantly looking into the same planner everyday. Lastly, If you’re not into all of this planner stuff, feel free to download an app to digitally remind you when things are due. This works just as well.
Know your Technology
Some online classes require programs such as Blackboard or Canvas. Others requiring separate programs like Mymathlabs or Livetext. It’s vital to your survival that you know your technology! Be familiar with these softwares and ensure that your access to wifi is always readily available. Never ignore the tour option when being introduced to a new platform. I have made that mistake thinking I could figure it out. Let me tell you, that was a confusing semester. Especially when you can’t just ask the person next to your what’s going on.
One major difference between online classes and in class, is that you will not have the freedom to ask questions directly to your professor after a lecture. Instead, all communication is done virtually. This can be a bit scary. However keep in mind that just because the class is online does not nessesarily mean that the teacher won’t have office hours. Just last semester I took an online course and was able to visit my teacher in person to ask questions. So look out for that in the syllabus! Otherwise; email, email, email! Remember, it is their job to make sure you understand what you’re learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Besides, if you’re asking through a computer screen what’s the worst that could happen?
Seek Extra Help When Needed
Don’t allow yourself to fail simply because a teacher is not physically teaching you. Most colleges offer study labs, tutors, and academic counseling. If you need to utilize these sources don’t wait! An instructor is much more likely to work with your grades if he/she can see the effort being applied throughout the semester. You would be surprised by how quickly you can pull your grades up if you put the effort in. Last semester I took statistics. I barely passed that class. But you know what they say! C’s get degrees! & It’s the truth. Certain classes shouldn’t even be offered online, in my opinion. But, if you decide to take an online class, be ready for the possible breakdown.