Tips for Taking Online Classes: 7 Strategies for Success
There are many benefits to online classes. You can access them whenever and wherever you want. They fit into a busy life better than traditional courses. And there are plenty to choose from now. But if you’ve never taken classes online, you might be unsure about how it all works and whether it’s right for you. The good news is that the tech that runs those online courses is user-friendly and designed for someone like you! But you’ll still want to start with some strategies for success:
1. Prepare Your Technology Resources
Confirm that you have wireless, high-speed internet and a dependable computer. Minimum specs for your computer should include:
- Current 0perating system
- Working web browser
- Intel 13 processor or higher
- At least 4GB of RAM
- Media player
- Sound card
You may also need specific software for the courses you take.
2. Find a Good Study Space
Whether you work best in a quiet room in your home or a busy coffee shop, find a space where you can focus on your classes. Make sure there is a reliable internet connection so you won’t have any interruptions in service. Stay organized by having all the books and class materials you will need close at hand. Headphones will help you eliminate noise distractions. Another good tip is to shut off your cell phone and stop all social media notifications when you’re in study mode.
3. Manage Your Schedule
At the beginning of each semester, take a close look at the class syllabus to find out when major tests, papers, and projects are due. Plan ahead and set up a timeline to work on them a little each week. Use a calendar app or your phone to set due dates and benchmarks.
You’ll also want to create a weekly schedule that will tell you which days and hours you will attend class and work on homework assignments. Allocate a time to work on each course and set a timer to make sure you are sticking to your schedule. But build in time to take a break and reward yourself when you finish a task.
The reason you need to manage your time is so you’ll be sure to hand in every assignment on time, prep for exams so you ace them, and get the kind of grades you’ll be proud of.
4. Get Some Support
If you are like many students, you may be juggling a job, school, family, and a social life. Let your support system know what you’re doing—advancing your education—and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you have children, line up babysitters and transportation for them. Let your employer know if there’s ever a conflict at work that interferes with school. And tell your friends “no” once in a while when they ask you to go out. You’re working for your future, after all.
5. Communicate with Your Instructor
From the start, make sure your professor knows who you are and that you care about your studies. Introduce yourself and raise a virtual hand to ask questions during class. Contact your instructors by email when you have questions or attend their virtual office hours. Ask for feedback on assignments and get clarification when you don’t understand something being discussed in class.
6. Study with Other Students
Even if you only get to know your fellow students while attending classes online, you can still work together and form a study group. This can be a great way to prepare for a test or complete a group homework assignment. It can be done virtually with free software like Google Hangouts or Join.me. Here you can share screens, use virtual whiteboards, swap ideas, and get to know your classmates and your assignments.
7. Experience Online Networking
Just because your course is on a computer doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of opportunities to interact with humans. Be active on discussion boards and live chats. Reach out to your classmates, participate in group projects, and attend those virtual study groups. Connect with your peers on LinkedIn. And if some of those classmates live near you consider setting up an in-person study session.
At National American University, we offer online Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, as well as certificates, in a variety of career specialties. Do you already have some work experience, military training or coursework in a related field? You may be able to transfer those credits to your degree program so you can finish quicker and save money. Call 800-209-0182 to speak to a counselor today.