Although you’ll receive 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.
There are three areas that, with a little improvement, can make a big difference in your online courses.
When it comes to online courses, you need the discipline to sit down and say, “I am going to work on this.” Though you can be flexible as to when you do your 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 the work in the night before an 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 collaborating with your classmates. As you’re participating, you’ve got to remain engaged with the class. Read what other students and your professor are 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 30 minutes before dinner plans, you could squeeze in a discussion response around your schedule. Set a goal to check in on the class discussion threads every day.
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 white noise you need to complete your work. Wherever you choose, make sure there’s high-speed internet access.
Setting up your office also comes with making sure you have the required books and materials. 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 help improve your GPA and allow you to gain a greater mastery of the topic.