Many students mistakenly register for online classes assuming that they will be easier and more convenient for their busy schedules. But in actuality, the online learning environment presents many new challenges that might be more difficult to navigate than showing up to normal class times during the week.
If you have an online course coming up next semester, here are some tips and steps to help you succeed in the virtual classroom.
1. Every Day
When you sign up for an online course, you are really signing up for school every day. Online classes are usually more work than a traditional class because rather than attending lectures, you are responsible for learning the material as well as demonstrating your grasp on the concepts. This typically involves logging in almost daily to keep up with discussion boards, assignments, readings, slides and other attendance checks. The benefit is that you can choose when you check into class, but it also requires a fair amount of discipline and consistency.
2. Know Your Professor
In an online course, it is imperative to build a positive relationship with your professor. Emails are your primary way of establishing this. Make sure that you are courteous and use proper grammar and English. Also, remember that although you can log into your class 24 hours a day, your professor is not available at any time. Be proactive about assignments, completing them prior to the deadlines. This way, if technical or other problems come up, you leave yourself time to dialogue with your instructor and find help.
3. Learn Basic Tech
An online course requires some basic abilities, such as the ability to get online. While that might sound obvious, many students who opt for this alternative do so because they have hectic schedules or family priorities. According to the Washington Post, 43.8 percent are older than 23 and a quarter of college students have children. So, many may not have had a chance yet to develop a lot of technical know-how. If you are beginning an online class, take some time to familiarize yourself with the program that your school utilizes, such as BlackBoard. Depending on what your professor chooses to use, you will want to take time to figure out video chat, Google Hangout and file uploading sites.
4. Read, Read, Read
Though it is simple, one of the biggest keys to success in any class, especially one online, is to read. Read your textbooks. Read research. Read assigned articles. It takes time, but this is one of the most important parts of digesting information and one of the most commonly neglected by students.
With these helps and some good old-fashioned effort and determination, you will be well on your way to success in an online course. And for students who enjoy their online experience, there are non-traditional options like South university online programs to complete the rest of their education over the computer.
Image from www.linfield.edu
Author info: Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer and social media fan who is currently researching different avenues in higher education. You can follow her on Twitter.