I think we would all agree that online learning has revolutionized the way the world is being educated. Many non-traditional students are far less hesitant about returning to school than they were in the past when they would have to present themselves on a campus full of bubbly 18-24 year old co-eds. This is definitely a good thing and I applaud all of you who are thinking of enrolling in classes in the new year. Here are six very helpful tips on how to get back into the swing of being a student successfully.
- Buy a Calendar. It may sound simple but due to the intensity of many of the online classes it is imperative that you stay on top of your schedule. Tablets, Android smartphones and the like are very helpful tools as are the online calendars. Some of us, who tend to be more visual still cling to paper (in your face) style calendars to remind us. Whichever you prefer, as a new and/or returning student you definitely need to have a great calendar on your side.
- Set up a Quiet Place. Many online courses will require that you use online videos and dvd lectures in order to learn. Many of the science courses are even becoming more available online and these require quite a bit of concentration. Likewise, Math, English, Communications and other core courses move quickly and will mandate that you are able to set aside a quiet place that will enable you to think and learn a lot of information in a short amount of time.
- Be Realistic. Americans love to do things quickly– I get that, but when it comes to your educational goals I would suggest you take the appropriate time to complete your program. This would include not taking on more courses than you can handle. If you are working full-time and are the parent of 4 children under the age of 16 years you should probably not try to take on full load of courses in an 8 or 16 week session.
- Purchase the Tools you Need. Before you enroll in and register for your classes make sure you check with your counselor or instructor concerning what you will need to succeed in the class. Make sure that your internet is stable enough and that you have the correct speed for frequent downloads and streams. You need to have a dependable, next to new computer system that will be compatible with the course requirements. In addition, invest in a file cabinet and desk in order to aid you in staying organized and successful.
- Be Goal-Oriented. Getting back into the habit of studying may take you a while. I would suggest starting off with 1 or 2 courses that you enjoy (but that are required) and easing your way back into learning. Set smaller goals for yourself along the way. As these are achieved you will gain confidence and feel better equipped to take on the more challenging courses as your online college experience continues.
- Ask Questions. One of the more difficult parts of learning online is the distance between you, the student, and your instructor. I would encourage you to not be shy about contacting your teacher with questions you may have. Many instructors use Blackboard technology to interact with their students as well as live meetings and other group chat tools. If you need assistance just remember that your instructor is being paid to teach you a subject and that they anticipate and may even look forward to hearing from you.
Online learning can be a great experience, especially for self-directed and organized students with a hunger for knowledge. Keep and utilize these tips in mind as you navigate through your course work and I am sure you will find your class time much more productive.
Are you currently learning online? Do you have any additional helpful hints for other learners? We would love to hear about them. Please leave a comment.