Get a head start
It’s important to get a head start and familiarize yourself with your online class, the navigation, syllabus, schedule and requirements. As soon as the class opens, log-in and look around. Make sure your logins work and give yourself plenty of time to get help or technical support if needed. Email the professor and introduce yourself.
Know the syllabus
In online classes the syllabus will not be repeated frequently by the teacher, it is up to you to know requirements and schedules. NOTE: Online classes are NOT self-paced. There are specific assignments and schedules to follow.
Find a good study space
It’s likely that you’re completing your online coursework from your home computer. However, your house might be full of distractions – your kids, your spouse, or the TV. Take some time each week and head to your local library, or a local coffee shop – some place where you can get a break from the distractions. You’ll be a lot more productive.
Manage your time
Your time is valuable! You have to balance all your responsibilities, but how? Effective time management. Get a calendar- paper, online, on your phone, whatever works for you and schedule everything you need to do in a given day. Schedule studying and coursework just as you would an appointment and stick to it. Schedule time to cook supper, help kids with homework, walk the dog, pay bills AND STUDY. Try to set a consistent study schedule. Remember, you should plan to spend 3 hours per week on each credit hour you are taking. Happy scheduling!
In an online class, it’s not enough to show up! Instructors need to hear your voice to feel your presence, and your comments add to the information, the shared learning, and the sense of community in each class.
Do not read lectures on your computer screen
There is no easier place to become distracted than on your computer! You will read about 45 seconds of the lesson, get bored and go explore the wonders of the internet instead. Also, reading a lot of material on a computer screen can be hard on the eyes. So, the solution to this is to simply print out lectures or reading materials or put a PDF of it on your E-reader.
Email the professor
Don’t be hesitant to email professors, especially about small problems, or not too important questions. Emailing the teacher is just like asking a question in class. If you have a quick question, just email the professor and ask, because that’s what they expect.
Ask lots of questions
You will probably interact with your instructor and fellow students through email, and might use a variety of other methods to communicate as well. Take advantage of these tools to ask plenty of questions. If you can, ask questions in a group environment such as a chat room. Other students in your online course might be wondering about the same thing!
Make the class your browser’s “home page”
Why not? This will help you remember you have the class to begin with. I’m sure every college student uses their internet browser everyday anyway, so if you set the class site to your homepage. You will see it often, and it will help you not procrastinate doing the work.
Do not procrastinate
We saved this one for last. :-) You shouldn’t procrastinate for any class, but especially not an online classes. It is very easy to do so. If you’re not physically going to the class every other day, its easy to forget you even have the class. Know when assignments are, and then get them done on time. Getting behind is a recipe for failure. Online courses generally move fast, so missing even one or two study sessions can make it extremely difficult to get back on track. Your chances of success are greatly increased if you complete each week’s assignments on time.
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