The internet has revolutionized the world of education. Today, ebooks can replace stacks of textbooks, and productivity apps now help students stay focused. And some students even get their education without leaving the house, thanks to online classes.
Whether you’re doing a fully online degree program or just taking a free online course to learn a new skill, online classes can be wonderful. However, they also offer unique challenges far different from those of a classroom setting.
How can you make online school work for you? These tips will help you get the most out of online courses of any sort, from beginners’ cooking classes to advanced mathematics.
Schedule Your Own “Class Time”
One of the best, and also one of the hardest, things about online classes is the lack of strict scheduling. While some elements (like video lectures) might happen live, for the most part, online courses require you to keep up on your own time.
If you struggle with time management, consider scheduling a set number of hours on a set number of days as your “class time.” You can ask the professor how many hours a week the class will take to help make your schedule. Then, every time you have scheduled “class time,” you’ll know to sit down and focus on that day’s requirements.
While the hours will probably fluctuate some as the semester goes on, this structure will help you stay focused and avoid falling behind.
Practice with the Tech Tools Early
If you’re good at learning new apps and navigating new websites, you probably won’t have trouble with this. Still, you should determine which tools and platforms you’ll need early, and devote an hour or two to figuring them out in the first week. If you already know how to navigate the required sites and use the right tech tools, you won’t get slowed down when class really gets underway.
Reach Out to Your Professor
As soon as you start having trouble with something in class, consider reaching out to your professor. It’s often better to address small problems now than to wait until they become big problems.
For example, if you don’t fully understand an assignment, or can’t figure out how the discussion board works, send a message right away. Most professors appreciate communicative students and will be happy to help. Your classmates can also serve as excellent resources, so consider writing a post or email to them.