As I studied through college the majority of my classes were traditional, taking place inside the classroom. However, a number of different classes were actually more convenient for me to take online over the summer as I went off to work or involve myself in internships. For me the online classes were actually a very enjoyable experience that offered me increased flexibility to learn and be tested. However, there were some key takeaways I learned in order to succeed in the classes.
Succeed in an Online Class: 1,2,3.. As I studied through college the majority of my classes were traditional, taking place inside the classroom. However, a number of different classes were actually more convenient for me to take online over the summer as I went off to work or involve myself in internships. For me the online classes were actually a very enjoyable experience that offered me increased flexibility to learn and be tested. However, there were some key takeaways I learned in order to succeed in the classes. 1. Can you Even take the Class? I am not referring to your abilities as a student but your access to the class materials. Different universities and even individual professors use various software resources. Before you sign up for the class or pay tuition you need to find out the technical details and see if you can access the class with your hardware. I would recommend that you use your own computer. Having to rely on the library or another individual can often be very frustrating when you need to get something done. Before the course starts talk with the professor about your hardware (is it fast enough), your software and OS (is it compatible), your browser (often software works best in a specific one), and your internet speed (will the pages even load). If your professor gives you the ok or if you read up on the requirements yourself it should probably be allright. The first day of class browse through all of the different tools the software has to confirm that they all work correctly. 2. Set Your Schedule One of the greatest perks of online classes is the flexibility but that does not mean you should opt for irregularity. Select whatever time is best for you to go through the coursework and make that time your regular time to work. Treat it like a job. You need to be home at your specified time each day. Now there are exceptions to the rule but generally try and keep it consistent Another part of scheduling is your study space. Like the timing this should be somewhere regular and hopefully secluded where you can concentrate on your work. By selecting a specific location and making it a pattern you will notice that you go through a mental shift when you enter your chosen space. Through repetition you know that this space is for studying. As mentioned, consistency is so important. Many online classes give you the option of turning in your assignments anytime throughout the course of the class. Foolish students often find themselves in a panic as they try to cram in ten chapters in two days and finish all their exams. Keep it consistent and if you have time get ahead. It will save you from developing ulcers at the end of the semester. 3. Maximize Your Resources An online class does not mean that you are on your own. Being online does afford you many benefits but there are also some cons. The largest is access to your professor. If there is help that you need, or advice that you are seeking make sure to do it early. Your professor will try and help you but his responses may not be immediate as in a traditional class. Enjoy the software that you access to. When using online tools you may often use only the ones that you must in order to complete assignments but there are usually a number of very useful tools in your software suite. You should have gone through them all in the beginning of the class to make sure they all work. So when the class begins make sure to explore the tools that may actually save you time in the long run. One of the favorite tools I discovered was a citation builder that would create the proper citation in whatever format I chose when I dropped a url into it. It saved me tons of time as I didn’t have to check all of the formatting rules myself, so don’t hesitate to explore your tools. Photo Credit: James Vaughan, photosteve 101, Ryan Hyde
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