Online classes can be a huge help for so many people, but in some ways they are more difficult than traditional classes. They really force you to get a good handle on your time management. I’ve had quite a bit of experience with online classes (over 3 semesters worth) and although I was nervous at first about the flexible format, I managed to continue my academic success and graduate with all As. This all happened while moving across the country, working full-time, and remodeling a house. My point is, it can be done successfully during busy times. Here are some things that worked for me:
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you have a total of 5 hours of free time throughout the week, full time coursework isn’t going to magically fit into your schedule just because it’s online. Don’t create time where there is none. You still have to actually do the work. Taking too many classes is setting yourself up for failure.
- Find a college with expertise in the online format. I’ve taken online classes at two different colleges. One was not a great experience, likely because this college didn’t do many online classes. The other was at a University whose online students outnumbered their in-person students. The streamlining of the online class format was obvious and made the experience much more frustration-free. If you can, take an online class from a school known for its online courses.
- Schedule your work. This is the most important point for success in an online class. If you think “I’ll do that work sometime this week,” you will not get it done. At the beginning of each week, I scheduled the time I would be spending each day on schoolwork. For example, I had discussion boards I had to be active in throughout the week, so I would schedule “Post on Discussion 13” in my planner for Tuesday (or whatever) and “respond to post” in my planner for Wednesday. I had a project or paper due each week, so I would schedule out time to work on it daily if my schedule allowed it, instead of waiting to do it all the day before it was due. This one tip will save you so much unnecessary stress.
- Communicate with your professor. Without the face-to-face component of a traditional class, it can be easy to go through class without asking questions to your professor. Instead, communicate with your professor about any questions or concerns so that you can maximize your learning, and probably your grade as well.
Following these tips, I believe you can successfully navigate an online class without all the stress. Good luck!
What are your best tips for online class success? Share in the comments section below.
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