Tag Archives: online education

6 Great Tips for Succeeding in Online Classes

a guy is sitting in front of his laptop

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!

21 Online Education Resources For Writers

online education for writers

Do you need to polish up your writing skills a bit? Maybe you feel a little shaky on punctuation or grammar? And how’s your confidence with verb conjugations?

If you feel your writing success is being held back because of a lack of skills, technical knowledge or expertise, we’ve got some good news for you. With so many outstanding resources available online, you can now easily get the support and information you need to develop your writing skills – without having to become a full-time student again.

With that in mind, we’ve curated this list of 21 free online education resources for writers. So, dig in and take advantage of the generosity of our fellow scribes.

Punctuation, Grammar and Spelling

WikiHow’s How to Use English Punctuation Properly covers the basics of using correct punctuation to create a more polished product.

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips provides easy tips on grammar rules and word choices guidelines to improve your writing style. And some easy to remember exercises that will help to remember grammar rules.

From the University of Ottawa’s Writing Center, Hypergrammar is an electronic grammar course covering parts of speech, grammar, spelling, building sentences, using verbs etc.

The Capital Community College Foundation offers us the Guide to Writing and Grammar. This site is full of useful information on word choice and sentence structure, grammar, the writing process, and writing essays and research papers.

Paradigm Online Writing Assistant gives us access to articles on freewriting, basic punctuation, common problem areas, basic sentence concepts and choosing a subject. Well worth a visit.

From Rutgers University English Department, Professor Jack Lynch gives us his Guide to Grammar and Style. A miscellaneous collection of grammatical rules, tips on style, and suggestions on usage gathered from his classroom notes.

Writing Style and Skills

Scribe Consulting gives us a series of articles in Better Writing Skills that outlines proper use of ampersands, apostrophes, colons and semicolons as well as tips on using ‘which’ and ‘that’, ‘who’ and ‘whom’, and ‘you and I’ versus ‘you and me’.

The English Style Guide is based on the style book new journalists at The Economist are given. It’s full of helpful advice on journalism in general, and common mistakes and clichés plus guidance on consistency in punctuation, capitalization and abbreviations. It also houses a wealth of reference material.

Now freely available online, William Strunk’s The Elements of Style is a timeless classic on writing and one of the most commonly used reference manuals. Every writer should have a copy, and now you can too.

Roy Peter Clark at Poynter runs a blog for writers and journalists and gives us the Poynter Writing Tools, a series of articles in the ‘how to’ format for improving your writing skills.

Technical Writing comes to us from Dr. Ronald B. Standler. He compiled this guide to help his undergraduate students with the grammar and style requirements necessary to write effective technical compositions. It covers the use of numbers in sentences, equations in text, citations and bibliography usage as well as verb tense and voice.

At Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab, you can find hundreds of resources on writing, research, grammar, formatting and writing style guides, and professional writing tips.

Writer’s Digest is a site dedicated to providing information on improving your writing skills, and the publishing process. It also has a community forum, editors’ blogs, competition listings, events and a large library of educational resources for writers. This site should be in every writer’s listing of favorite websites for quick access to a wealth of information.

Steven Barnes, novelist and screenwriter, generously shares the material of his nine weeks Lifewriting Class that he instructs at UCLA. He offers material on how to write, as well as how to structure your life for success as a writer.

On Blogging and Copywriting

From one of the leading authorities on successful copywriting and blogging, Copywriting 101 comes to us as courtesy of Copyblogger. It’s an ebook with 10 lessons to get started on the basics of writing effective copy. You should also check out their vast library on SEO copywriting tactics, writing headlines and online marketing in general.

At Problogger, you can find tips and tutorials on crafting great content, writing headlines, how to start a blog, copywriting, and how to monetize your blog.

The blog at Men With Pens offers over 1,000 articles all geared to help you improve your content writing, blogging, freelancing, and entrepreneurial efforts.

Tools for Writers

Well, we did promise a site on verb conjugation, so here it is: the English Verb Conjugation tool from Verbix. Fill in the infinitive and you’ll get a list of English verbs in every imaginable conjugated tense, from nominal forms to indicative and conditional right through to the imperative. Easy to use and understand, this impressive tool should be in every writer’s kitbag.

Use Ornagoo’s Spell Check to check the text, grammar, and synonyms of your entire website.

Using English has an online Advanced Text Analyzer to dissect your word count, lexical density, word and phrase analysis, as well as readability of text. You’ll need to register first, but it is free.

Wordcounter will rank the frequency of words used in a given section of text. Use it to expose where you overuse words that result in repetition or redundancy.

Wow! There’s a lot of free educational information and resources available online. We writers are a lucky lot. With such an abundance of valuable information available to improve our skills, it’s really hard to justify not starting that new writing project. So check out some or all of the above tips to make your writing journey easier, and more enjoyable.

After all, you never know when some future blogger is going to be referencing your site or guide as one of the go-to resources for writing success.