Doing Well: Tips for Success in Online Classes

Online courses are wonderful for busy professionals, for parents trying to juggle the responsibilities of home and school, and for students taking a hectic course load! The constant availability of the Internet provides more flexibility than traditional college lectures, as courses can be accessed and assignment completed at nearly any time, day or night.  While the flexibility to complete course work after the kids are in bed, before the early work meeting, or between midterms in other classes allows more students to fit college into busy schedules, online classes also put significant demands on students.

Being prepared, disciplined, and connected are the keys to successful online learning (photo by scui3asteveo).

Online classes require students to be prepared, disciplined, and connected in order to be successful.

- In order to be successful in online classes, you will need to be prepared.  Being prepared allows you to have the elements needed for your success in place before the course starts.

To be properly prepared for your online class, you will need to have the right equipment.  This includes making sure that your computer is within the school’s specifications, that your internet connection is fast enough for the online course, that you have the proper word processing and other software required, and that you have the capacity to back up any coursework to prevent against loss.

You will also need to print out the course syllabus to be prepared.  The course syllabus will be your best friend in an online course!  With no meeting times or face-to-face lectures with professors, remembering when your assignments are do and staying motivated to get them done is up to you.  By printing a copy of the syllabus, you can keep track of readings, assignments, discussion board posting, and the other essentials of online courses.  Mark off each item as it is completed to make sure everything is finished in a timely manner.

- You will need to be disciplined to be successful in your online courses.  Being disciplined will allow you to get all your coursework done in a timely manner and be successful in testing and quizzes.

While it is difficult, the first tip to being disciplined in online classes is to do all of the assigned readings.  When schedules get busy, the first things students are likely to skip are the reading assignments, especially if the assignments are long, boring, or complicated. In online classes, though, the reading assignments are likely to make up the heart of the educational experience.  Without the traditional lectures of face-to-face courses, most of the information in the course comes right from the reading assignments, and you’re likely to see many test and quiz questions straight from the reading.

Using these study tips will allow you to maximize the time you are spending on your online coursework.

It is critical that you stay organized in your online classes.  By keeping your course materials organized and accessible, you will save yourself time and frustration, and ultimately be more successful in your course.  Staying organized includes keeping all your notes in the same place for easy access, knowing where your books and other printed materials are, and knowing where your schedule of assignments is kept.

- To be successful in online classes, it is also crucial that you stay connected with the class.  Staying connected, via internet or phone, will allow you to take advantage of the course.

To stay connected, make sure you communicate with your professor. Professors in online courses will provide an email address or a phone number to stay in contact with the students, so use it! If you have questions about an assignment, if you are confused about something in the readings, or if you want feedback on a grade, contact your professor via email or phone.

Make sure you always participate in any online chats, discussion boards, or forums for the course.  Participation in online chats or forums will give you an opportunity to clear up any confusion in the course material and will allow you to understand where your focus should be in your studies.  Furthermore, it allows your professor to get to know you and see that you are involved and taking your course seriously.

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