I’d like to thank Bill Gates for my diploma . . . said no one, ever. Alright, maybe a few people have said it.
But we don’t think about how much the internet has expanded access to education. You could be living across the world and taking classes through a university in your hometown.
Online learning is amazing, but it’s not easy. If you want tips for online classes, like how to succeed and how to keep up, keep reading below.
1. Set Aside Specific Time for Class
One of the benefits of online learning is that it can fit your schedule. But that doesn’t mean the class doesn’t have a schedule and that you should just squeeze it in wherever you can.
You need to have an hour or two-hour window when you always watch your videos and do your homework or assignments. Think about when you have time first, then consider when you learn best.
Does your brain feel more active in the morning or in the evening?
You don’t have to force yourself to go to bed early because that’s what people say is good. If you’re energized at night, then work at night. It’s that simple.
Plus, you’ll probably sleep even better when you’re tired of studying and staring at a textbook. And that’s a good idea – if you’re studying at night, save the textbook for last.
Work on the computer first, so that you have a little break from the blue light before you close your eyes for the night.
If you’re studying in the morning, the blue light isn’t as much of an issue, but make sure you’re using the 20/20/20 rule. Every twenty minutes, look 20 feet off in the distance, for 20 seconds.
It gives your eyes a break from the little words on the bright screen.
2. Make Sure You Have a Career Plan
Online courses can be expensive, so you don’t want to take them without a solid plan. If you’re trying to become a radiology assistant, then you need to discover more about which courses to take in order, before you sign up for the first one.
How long with this continuing education program take you? Are you trying to get out into the workforce or is this something you want to do from home?
How are you planning to pay for these classes? If you’re applying for scholarships or grants, you’ll need to do that well in advance, before you apply for classes. Only when you know you can pay for them should you finally enroll in the courses.
3. Don’t Under-Participate
A lot of online classes have forums or questions they want you to post and discuss with the rest of the class every week. Usually, you have to comment back to at least one or two people’s posts every week.
This is a chance for you to learn, it’s not just an annoying thing you have to get out of your way. When you connect with other people, you learn part of how they learn.
What if they have a good grasp on something, they post about it, then you post and say that you’ve always had trouble with that thing? Maybe they know an easy way to remember it and can share that with you.
As you get further along in school, you have to realize that your classmates are tools you can use. Team up with them, do assignments together (if you’re allowed to) and quiz each other. You don’t need to be face to face to be study buddies.
4. Be Friendly with The Instructor
A lot of people think that the instructor doesn’t have time for them or their questions. That’s not true. The majority of instructors are driven to help people – not just to teach them and move on.
Even though you may never see your instructors’ face in real life, attend their online office hours and ask for help when you need it.
If you need an extension or have trouble turning something in, explain that.
If you’re trying to turn a project in on time but it’s not letting you, screenshot the issue and then email your instructor. Since you’re showing proof of your assignment (or whatever it is) and reaching out on how to fix it, your instructor will be more likely to give you an extension or at least not mark the assignment late.
However, if you just say something like “I couldn’t turn it in” the day after, there’s no way for your instructor to know you weren’t lying.
Take the initiative and communicate. Your grade will be better off for it.
5. Organize Your Computer Folders
When you take an online class, you’re going to be downloading a lot of things. PowerPoints, assignments, study guides – whatever. You need to have a good folder filing system so that you can find what you need quickly on your computer.
You’ll also want to come up with a way you name the files you turn in. Your instructor has a lot of documents coming at them too.
Make their lives a little bit easier by labeling your files as something like Mike.Jones.Assignment2. It’ll stand out in the stream of assignments they get just called “Assignment 2” and they’ll thank you for making their job easier.
A happy instructor is a good thing for everyone (but especially you).
Tips for Online Classes
The best thing we can tell you about online classes is that you need to treat them like in-person classes. Do your work, show up on (your) time, and do the readings.
If you follow these tips for online classes, you should succeed and get the grade or the certificate you’re working for.
Want to know more about why you should pursue that degree? Click here.