Online college courses are great for all types of students. Whether you are a traditional student going full-time or a non-traditional students taking course part-time while you work, online classes offer flexibility to complete your degree. Keep in mind, however, that online classes as just as hard, if not harder, than if you were taking it on campus. With that in mind, here are 7 tips to help you succeed.
1. Online versus in-person
Online classes are just that, completely online courses in which you will be required to complete assignments, take quizzes, turn in papers, and finish exams all online. The nice thing about them is the flexibility to complete the work on your own time.
You won't have to listen to lectures or go to a classroom at a certain time, though you will still need to study chapters out of your book and most will require participation through discussion posts a few times a week.
2. Don't discount the amount of work involved
Just because the class is online and you can complete the work whenever you want, don't think there isn't going to be a lot of work involved. You'll have to be responsible enough to make sure you find the time during the day or night to finish the work. Just like an in-person course, you're going to have homework, except in an online class, everything is homework.
3. Are you a night person or a morning person?
If you are a morning person, start your day by checking the discussions online and replying to your classmates. You probably won't need to do this every day, but don't leave all of the work to the last day until it's due.
Likewise, if you are a night person, finish off your day by doing your homework. Be sure to check your due dates for assignments in the online syllabus because typically online classes will allow you to finish your assignments by a certain time and day, often at midnight by the end of the week.
4. Find a quiet place to complete your work
If you have a busy home life and can't find enough concentration time to do your work, leave your house and find a quiet place to complete your work. Whether it be the library, coffee house, or just outside on your porch, setting aside time away from everything else will be crucial to your success in an online course.
5. Participate frequently
As mentioned above, participate in discussions frequently. Don't just write your discussion post, reply to one person, and call it good. Your professor will be grading you on participation throughout the semester, which means your participation should be thoughtful and on-task. Reply to your classmates, ask them questions to further the discussion, and be sure to reply back to them if they reply to you. All of this will show that you are actively engage with the coursework.
6. Make sure you have the tech requirements
This should be obvious, but you are going to need a decent computer and internet connection in order to succeed in an online course. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive, but at least enough to run the required course software.
On this note, if you can, a laptop will be very helpful for online classes because they allow you to be mobile and do your work anywhere with internet.
7. Save all of your work while completing each assignment or discussion post
Just like any work, you'll want to make sure you have some kind of backup so that you don't end up losing it for some unforeseen reason. We've seen it before where students will write these long, well-thought out discussion posts only to click submit and have all of it be erased because the internet went down or some other unexpected problem happens.
Our suggestion would be to complete all of the work outside of the course software, and then copy and paste it into where it needs to go. Google Docs are a great solution to this, as is Microsoft Word to write your post offline or online. Just be sure to save frequently.