Taking an online college course is a fantastic opportunity for students to broaden their horizon and take advantage of the convenient opportunities provided by modern technology. An online course is very similar to a traditional campus class except students are able to define their own schedules and learn at their own speed, from their own homes. As amazing as online learning can be, it does present some unique challenges for students to overcome.
These three simple questions will give you an idea of the types of challenges you may face with online learning:
1. Are you self-motivated and independent?
Online classes offer students the flexibility and convenience of being able to study and complete coursework at their own speed and preference. However, this kind of learning structure demands that students be capable of managing their own time, and motivating themselves to study and complete their assignments.
2. Do you have available time to study?
Many students take online courses believing that they will take less time and/or effort. While it is true that online courses do not require students to attend a physical class for set amounts of time, they are no less demanding. Most online classes take as much, if not more, time studying than conventional campus classes. Students should be prepared to invest considerable amounts of time studying each week.
3. Are you comfortable interacting with your professors?
Online education tends to be a very independent style of education that encourages students to interact with their peers and professors to help facilitate the learning process. Students in online classes need to be very comfortable with asking questions and interacting openly with the class to get the most of their online classes.
If you’re ready to begin working toward your degree through online education and are preparing to take your first online course then the following tips will be invaluable to you. These small bits of wisdom are a great place to begin your exciting pursuit of higher education and give yourself an advantage in online courses.
- Familiarize yourself with the online interface.
All online courses are taught through an online platform and each has a unique interface. As soon as you are able, you should take some time to explore the interface. Being comfortable with an online education interface is just as important as learning your way around a college campus. You should take some time in advance to locate the course syllabus, calendar, and areas of communication for lectures, assignments and questions.
Knowing where to find what you need in advance will be extremely helpful as the class progresses and you find yourself in need of these modules and features.
- Set aside time and space for your studies.
While online courses are indeed convenient, it’s still important that you make time to study and that you do so in a quiet and focused environment. It’s easy to be distracted when you’re trying to study or complete assignments from the comfort of your own home. For this reason, it’s very important that students make the most of their time by studying in a focused, quiet environment for uninterrupted amounts of time.
- Log in frequently and check for updates.
Staying up to date on lectures and assignments is critical to your success with online education. Checking in with your class at least four to five times a week is an ideal way to stay on top of your coursework and study material.
With many online classes the discussion segment of the class where students interact with each other and openly explore questions is a major component of the course. In these cases, students may even want to log into their program several times a day to check for discussion updates.
- Be active!
Online education requires motivated and independent individuals, and favors students who are willing to actively participate in courses. If you have a question, you should never hesitate to ask your professor or post it in the discussion section of your course interface. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the helpful and interactive environment the online classes foster.
- Take yourself and your education seriously.
There may be a lot of perks to online classes and the environment can often feel much more relaxed and informal than a campus class but that’s no reason not to take it seriously. It’s important to keep in mind that online college is no different than any other college. The coursework you’ll be doing is very real and so are the steps you’ll be making toward your degree. Be serious about your education, and strive to excel in your assignments and program.