More people than ever are enrolling in distance learning and online classes. The number of students who are taking classes at home – either as a supplement to academic work they are doing or as their primary means of obtaining a degree – has been increasing significantly over the past several years.
If you’re currently enrolled in online classes, here are six great tips to help you succeed and make the most of your opportunity.
1. Get Tech Savvy
Before you begin your online education, you need to ensure you have all of the techs you need in place, and that you know how to use it. Find out what the hardware requirements are for your online courses; once you do, you should also verify that your computer and all of your mobile devices are compatible with it. If you don’t have high-speed internet at your home, find somewhere that does. You should also find out if you need any specific software for the course, then purchase and install it. Finally, once everything is in place, you should do a “test run” on your online curriculum platform, so you are comfortable with all of your software tools.
2. Be Disciplined
Maintaining focus and motivation is absolutely critical for success in online education. Unlike traditional classes, you won’t have the benefit of working alongside fellow students, or physical access to teachers or professors to assist you. You will have to develop and maintain an academic structure on your own to ensure you have what you need to succeed. One of the best ways to do this is to live your life like you actually are attending classes. Wake up on schedule and get dressed as if you are going to a physical classroom with a professor and other students. Try to go to a venue such as a library to do your homework. Maintain a work and life schedule like a student who is attending school would do (see more below). Little actions like these can help you maintain your personal discipline and give you the structure you need to succeed in your online curriculum.
3. Stay Organized
When it comes to online classes, staying organized is even more important than in traditional study programs. Most online students do the bulk of their virtual attendance and homework at home. So, make sure you have a tidy, organized workspace in your office or room to help you stay organized while studying; don’t just sprawl out on the dining room table with your laptop and all your papers, or you might lose important information. Have a good system for keeping all of your class materials, whether they’re papers or files, organized in your home and on your computer. If you travel to a different location for classwork, such as a library, make sure you have a briefcase or backpack loaded with everything you need to accomplish your classwork, too.
4. Have a Study Plan
Since online coursework is often more self-directed than standard classes, having a good study plan is critical. You’ll need to ensure that you attend any online seminars according to a set schedule, and will also have to program time to study and do homework. Many students use written planners or calendar books to track when their online classes are and to program time to do work outside of class. Additionally, there are many great apps and programs, such as Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook, that you can use to develop and track your study plan. It doesn’t matter how you do it – managing your time will be critical to your success in online classes.
5. Avoid distractions
In order to maintain discipline in your online classes, you will have to be adept at avoiding distractions. If you are attending class virtually, nearly everything around you can distract you from learning, and make it difficult to succeed in class. Your smartphone, social media, and other people in your home or apartment can become major impediments to maintaining the appropriate level of focus on your online coursework.
If you find the outside world intruding on your studies, there are several things you can do to regain your focus:
- There are apps that block your phone for a period of time set by the timer. You won’t be able to use your social media or text until the timer goes off. Apps like Flipd, Stay on Task, Offtime, are great choices for this, although you can find many others that do the same thing.
- Switching your phone or mobile devices to airplane mode will keep those distracting messages from popping up while you are trying to study.
- Moving mobile devices to another room or turning mobile them off altogether while studying can keep you focused.
- Retreating to a quiet room in your home, or another location altogether can help prevent interruptions from your family, roommates, or friends.
- Never attend online classes or do your reading and homework with a TV on.
6. Ask Questions
When you’re attending online classes, don’t forget that you are still actually in class; if you don’t understand a concept or other course material, don’t be afraid to raise your hand (virtually)! Find out what the professor’s or teacher’s protocol is for asking questions when the online class begins, and then use it whenever you don’t understand something. In some cases, the online course software may have a built-in function for “raising your hand,” indicating you have a question; in other cases, you may have to send a chat message to get the instructor’s attention. If all else fails, ensure you follow up with your instructor via email. Don’t let the online class system keep you from learning what you need to know.
Parting Thoughts: You Can Succeed in Online Classes!
Participating in online classes is a great way to get an education or critical skills needed in the world today. However, online education is quite different than traditional learning institutions and can present many unique challenges to students. So, take the tips offered here into consideration and apply them as you begin your online curriculum. And if you struggle a lot with your assignments, you can turn to our team. Doing so will help you put your best foot forward as you set off to accomplish important academic goals. Best of luck as you begin your online studies!