Manage your time.
- Time management may be the biggest factor in succeeding at your online course. Successful online students have to be very proactive in their studies and take responsibility for their own learning.
- Whether you are working alone, or in a group, contribute your ideas, perspective and comments on the subject you are studying, and read about those of your classmates. Your instructor is not the only source of information in your course.
- You can gain great insight from your peers and they can learn from you as well.
Balance personal obligations.
- While there are many reasons to take an online course – one of the most frequent reasons students choose these courses is because of the convenience. Whether you have a full-time job, don’t want to fight traffic or are raising a family – balancing school and personal obligations can become a juggling act.
Create a study environment.
- This will help lend importance to what you are doing as well. Your own space where you can shut the door, leave papers everywhere, and work in peace is necessary. If you try to share study space with the dining room or bedroom; food or sleep will take priority over studying.
Log on to your course every single day.
- Or log on a minimum of 5-6 days a week. Once you immerse yourself in your course using the online system, you will be eager to see who has commented on your postings and read the feedback of your instructor and peers. You will also be curious to see who has posted something new that you can comment on. If you let too many days go by without logging on to your course discussion group, you will get behind and find it very difficult to catch up.
Take advantage of being online.
- One of the biggest advantages of the online format is that you can pursue your studies without the judgments typical in a traditional classroom. Unless you are using video conferencing, no one can see you. There are no stereotypes, and you don’t have to be affected by raised eyebrows, rolled eyeballs, other students stealing your thunder, or people making other non-verbal reactions to your contributions.
- You don’t have to feel intimidated or upstaged by students who can speak faster than you because you can take all of the time you need to think your ideas through and compose a response before posting your comments to your class.
Be polite and respectful. Use netiquette.
- Just because you are anonymous, doesn’t mean you should let yourself go.
- Remember, you are dealing with real people on the other end of the Internet.
- Being polite and respectful is not only common sense, it is absolutely required for a productive and supportive online environment. In a positive online environment, you will feel valued by your instructor, valued by your classmates and your own work will have greater value as well.
Speak up if you are having problems. Ask questions.
- Remember your professor cannot see you, so you must be absolutely explicit with your comments and requests. If you are having technical difficulties, or problems understanding something about the course, you MUST speak up otherwise there is no way that anyone will know that something is wrong.
- Also, if you don’t understand something, chances are several people have the same question. If another student is able to help you, he/she probably will. And if you are able to explain something to your classmates, you will not only help them out, but also reinforce your own knowledge about the subject.
Apply what you learn.
- Apply everything you learn as you learn it and you will remember it more readily.
- If it is possible, take the things you learn in your online course today and use them in your home or work tomorrow. Also, try to make connections between what you are learning and what you do or will do in your job. Contributing advice or ideas about the real world as it applies to the subject matter helps you to internalize what you are learning and gives valuable insight to your classmates who will benefit from your experience.
- Many distance learners agree that the most difficult part of studying online is staying motivated. Because students must take the initiative to complete their courses completely on their own, without the physical presence of teachers and other peers, many students find it easy to become distracted and discouraged in their work.