Taking online classes is a lot different than going to school in person. Anyone enrolled in online classes knows they have to be more motivated, focus a little harder, and be extremely organized in order to have maximum success.
With that said, it’s not always easy being enrolled in an online college course.
There might even be a chance that you’re enrolled in online classes because you had no other choice. Maybe you needed an additional class to fulfill your graduation requirements and taking it online was the best option. Or maybe you’re one of the millions of people who found themselves being forced to do online learning because of the coronavirus.
Regardless of why you are in an online class, I want to make sure that you have the tools needed in order to succeed with online learning.
I have personally had my share of experiences with online classes.
I have taken them and I have taught them. These experiences have taught me plenty about how to have the most success in this type of environment.
Although it may be a difficult adjustment, there are ways to ensure that you have everything you need in order to succeed.
Below are 10 ways to kill it in your online classes.
Set aside time to do work daily
Just like with a regular class that you go to in person, online classes require work daily.
In fact, you might need to set aside more time each day to complete an online course then you would normally. The reason I suggest that you set aside time every day to work on your online classes is so that you don’t fall behind.
Often, online classes require that you be self-motivated to do your assignments. Self-motivation is a lot easier when you’re dedicated to showing up for your classes each and every day.
I would even take it a step further to say that you should do a little bit of work on the weekends. This helps you stay ahead and alleviates some of your stress.
However, don’t work so hard that you forget to take a break!
Watch all of your lectures
If you are enrolled in an online class where lectures are uploaded for you to watch on your own time, make sure you watch each and every lecture. Don’t let online learning be an excuse to ditch out on the material taught in the class.
Skipping out on lectures is a sure-fire way to fall behind and even fail the course. Instead, make time to watch all of your lectures and take notes when necessary.
Remember, you are still paying a lot of money to be in online classes so you might as well take full advantage and learn all you need to learn through your professor’s lectures.
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Keep an organized due dates calendar
One of the main complaints I get from students is that it’s hard to keep track of all of the due dates when enrolled in online classes.
I completely understand how this can be complicated and confusing. With everything being online from the syllabus to the homework assignments, it can be easy to lose track of what is due and when.
To help make this process easier, I recommend that you make your own due dates calendar. To do this, gather together all of your syllabi and go through them marking each due date on a clean calendar dedicated solely to your online classes.
By doing this you have a clear overview of every single due date for every single class in one place.
You can do this on paper or you can do it electronically; it doesn’t matter as long as you have a quick go-to reference of what is due.
Find a quiet space
With online classes comes a lot of distractions.
One of the main distractions is working from home. A huge benefit of going to class in person is that students are in an environment where everyone is there is prepared to learn.
That is not the case with online classes. A lot of times students take their classes while at home meaning that they’re surrounded by family. And as I’m sure you’re aware, family comes with a lot of distractions.
It’s best to find a quiet place in your house to do all of your course material. Obviously, this is going to be easier for some and more difficult for others.
It might help to sit down with your family and talk about the importance of your quiet space and how necessary it is for your online learning. And when deciding on what place of your house you go to for your classes, remember that it doesn’t need to be a spacious or extravagant space. It simply needs to be comfortable enough for you to complete all of your assignments.
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Get off of social media
It’s easy to sit on social media all day long.
We all know it and we’ve all done it. However, nothing derails online learning like social media distractions.
It’ll take a lot of self-control but make sure that you are not mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds all day long. Instead, set aside dedicated hours to work on your online classes that are completely social media free.
It might not be the most fun thing in the world but you’ll have a lot of success in your classes by doing this.
Practice good time management
Time management is the number one key to online classes.
Since it’s all up to you to show up every single day to complete your required assignments, it’s imperative that you manage your time well. I know for a lot of people this is a huge struggle.
If you think that you struggle with time management, you might need to get an accountability partner who will help you keep track of your goals. You can ask a trusted friend or relative but make sure it’s someone who has your best interest.
Communicate with your professors
One of the things my students tell me is that they forget their professors are still available to them during online learning.
Just because you’re enrolled in online classes doesn’t mean you can’t approach your professors via email. If you’re struggling in your class or you have a question on your assignments don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Not all professors will be as helpful as you’d like, but it is still important to remember that they are there for you and want to see you succeed.
Also, speaking from experience, your teachers love it when they see that you care and are dedicated to succeeding in their class.
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Just because you are not in a classroom doesn’t mean you can’t participate.
If you are enrolled in a class that meets live stay engaged by participating in the discussion. The same goes for any posted discussion board. Make sure that you are reading other student comments and engaging back to their observations.
Participating is an easy way to stay invested in a class and gain additional points towards your overall grade.
Make a routine
When it comes to online learning, routines work really well.
The reason a routine works is because it helps to get you in the right mindset each and every day.
For example, if you set a routine to start your homework at 9:00am every single day, then your brain learns to be prepared for learning at that time.
Even more specifically, if you have a routine to do your math homework every day at 9:00am, your brain will adapt to learn math at that time every day.
Another reason that routines work so well is because it allows you enough time to accomplish all the tasks that you need to do.
If you find that you’ve made a routine but it’s not quite working for you, feel free to make changes until you find exactly what works best for your online learning.
Breaks are necessary. They can be snack breaks, social media breaks, FaceTime breaks, it doesn’t matter.
What’s important is that you take breaks to give your mind and body a chance to refresh and rejuvenate before diving back into your learning.
You’re working hard so you deserve to reward yourself every now and then with a relaxing break.