Online classes have their own unique set of challenges, just like traditional classes. However, by following the advice below, and above all—by being conscientious about your course work—you can ensure that you will be successful under virtually any set of circumstances.
While many college or high school students have already engaged in online learning in one form or another, even the most experienced user will benefit from some simple tips to ensure that you make the most out of your time away from a traditional classroom.
1. Stick to a schedule.
Online classes typically follow a set schedule with specific due dates for assignments throughout the course. If your classes meet at a specific time, be sure that you are ready when the session starts. If you have an asynchronous class—meaning it does not require you to log on to a virtual classroom at a specific time—pick a time each day to dedicate to the class. Do not put off classes of this nature until the last minute.
2. Take your time.
Your education is important, so do not rush through your assignments. Take as much time with your online assignments as you would if you were learning in a traditional classroom setting.
3. Location, location, location
If possible, find a comfortable place where you can focus on your class without any outside distractions. Wear headphones to minimize extraneous noises. In addition, be sure to leave yourself room to take notes on the material you are learning.
4. Ask questions and engage with your professors.
Online learning works best when there is dynamic interactivity between students and their professor. Do not be shy. If you have questions, ask them. If you have a comment or concern—speak up! Since the first half of the semester took place in a traditional classroom setting, you already have a relationship with your professors.
5. Explore the technology before it needs to be used.
If you are not familiar with the technology being used in a course, be sure to make yourself accustomed to it ahead of time. If you are not sure about how something works, reach out to your professor, or look for instructional videos or tutorials online. A little preparation up front gives you confidence and prepares you for greater success once you are fully engaged in online learning.
6. Use alarms and calendars to stay on top of assignments and due dates.
If you have not done so already, now is a good time to record all important dates from your classes in your calendar. Set up alarms that give you ample time to complete assignments. If you are collaborating on projects with other students, include them on your calendar so that they receive similar alarms. Effective time management is essential for online learning.