Tips to Help Students Succeed Online
Online and distance learning is not a new concept at colleges. Even high schools required students to have an online class to become familiar with this type of learning. What has changed is that almost all colleges and universities have moved to virtual classrooms until further notice. Some say two weeks, some for the remainder of the semester. Almost all universities have systems in place to handle the unique environment we are in and they are continually updating students and staff.
Some lectures will be recorded and posted on their university’s course management system, which students already use for grades, syllabus’, online assignments. This includes Canvas, Blackboard, and Webcourse so that students do not have to come to campus. This is the same setup as video lecture capture courses. Professors are providing links to class videos (so this will be free). Proctored exams are also already in place at universities (see our blog on Online Testing Systems) depending on the class.
My older D had many of her business classes offered only online, visiting campus no more than two days a week. While online classes provide great flexibility with time, they can also come with challenges. Our team of interns and our D’s and S’s share suggestions as to how to successfully navigate a cyber education.
Shut off phones, stop laptop notifications, temporarily shun all social media, and eliminate any other distractions. This may mean…finding a comfortable and quiet area to work that is not your bed. Treat online classes like any other class, with a time and place to be. Get dressed and go to a coffee shop or the library perhaps. We also recommend creating a dialogue with your professor. Chat about anything; perhaps the syllabus or texts. The key is getting your name known in a positive light so if you have questions along the way, you already have a relationship established.
Planning ahead each week is imperative. Some professors even recommend keeping a whiteboard handy to write down upcoming due dates. We suggest marking them due a day before they actually are. This could help a lot considering you don’t know if something could go wrong with your computer or WiFi the day of. You will feel great joy each time you can erase a completed assignment from the board. Check the roster to see if you know anybody also taking the class. Chances are you’re going to have questions throughout the semester and it’s good to have someone to study with. GroupMe and Google Drive and Hangouts are both good apps to use with other students to collaborate.
Use the resources available. In other words, buy the textbook and actually read it. It’s there for a reason. Don’t hesitate to turn to outside resources for further explanation of something either. Utilize online videos from publishers, tutoring services, and various web programs. If your learning style works best with lectures, you may consider getting a read-aloud textbook.
Schedule times to work on the class. For instance, every Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 4 pm will be your time to work on your online class. If you keep to the schedule, you won’t have to worry about falling behind. And…if you can work ahead, do it. Seriously, if you can get on a roll and complete assignments ahead of time – yes, even for the rest of the semester – do it. If you finish the online class early, it will take a lot of stress off your other classes. Finally, reward yourself for your work. If you get everything you planned, or more, done on time, take that Netflix break. It will give you something to look forward to.
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