Although you’ll get the same education whether you take your courses online or in person, the skills you need to be successful at online learning differ a bit from what you need to excel in the classroom.
Fear not: There are 3 areas that with a little improvement, you can make a big difference in your online courses.
When it comes to online courses, you’ve got to have the discipline to sit down and say, “I am going to work on this.” Though you can be flexible as to when you do you work during the week, you can’t put it off.
Stop and take a look at your calendar, and how you’re spending your time. The more you can schedule your time into dedicated blocks, the more you’ll get done, and the less time you’ll spend cramming it in the night before the exam or project due date.
A big part of online learning is your participation in online discussion boards, both reflecting on your own thoughts and bouncing ideas off of and debating your classmates. As you’re participating, you’ve got to remain engaged with the class. Read what other students are saying, read what your professor is saying, and if you have a question, ask for clarification.
Keeping up is very important. Make sure you are checking in as often as you can. It’s very frustrating to fall behind, and the flexibility of online learning means that if you have half an hour before dinner plans, you could squeeze in a discussion response around your own schedule. Set a goal to check in on the class and its discussions every day.
3. Set Up Your Virtual Office
It could be at home, at work after everyone else leaves, or at your local Starbucks, but it’s important to recognize where it is that you can get either the peace-and-quiet or the white noise you need to get your work done. Wherever you choose, make sure there’s high-speed Internet access.
Along with setting up your office comes making sure you have the books and materials you need. Do you have the latest software available for your computer and web browser? Have you ordered the books? Get as much as you can set up and ready to go ahead of time so that you can easily keep pace with the class.
The more you take online classes, the better you’ll do. They say that 90 percent of success is showing up, and that’s what it is: It’s showing up and participating. And doing so will improve your GPA, you’ll get a greater mastery of the topic, and you’ll feel better about your experience, too.
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