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6 Ways To Ace Your Online Course
Digital learning has become an increasingly popular higher education alternative, with millions of students enrolling in online courses every year. Many colleges and universities across the world are boosting their online degree options — and it’s no wonder when you consider the breadth of benefits involved. Unlike attending a brick-and-mortar school, online courses offer convenience and flexibility. Students can work with their busy schedules instead of around them while saving the money they would otherwise spend on dormitory living or commuting.
That’s not to say online college courses are a slam-dunk. They come with an incredible amount of independence which requires self-discipline and motivation. If you’re unprepared, you can risk falling behind, especially if you procrastinate. However, there are strategies that can help you excel at your online course and move one step closer to receiving your degree. Here are six of the best:
- Stay on top of email — Designate certain times throughout the day to check your school email. Enable email notifications to ensure that you don’t miss out on important messages and assignments. Teachers of online courses often send bonus materials to read or special directions for a project. Be aware that the professor may send you new information regarding coursework at any time of the day.
- Plan ahead — Before the class starts, familiarize yourself with the features of the learning management system you will be using to complete the course. Your professor may post the syllabus before the session begins. Be sure to examine assignment guidelines and materials early in the week so you can email the professor with any questions before the project is due. Creating a schedule can help you complete and submit tasks on time.
- Interact with other students — It’s possible to get involved with other students despite the lack of face-to-face contact. Interact with peers through chatrooms, emails, message boards and instant messaging. Most online courses still count class participation as part of the overall grade, so it’s important to make your voice heard via the available digital media. Discussing course content and homework with classmates also can help reduce any feelings of isolation. You may even make new friends who will collaborate with you on projects.
- Switch up your location — Changing locations can save you from boredom, especially if you’re always typing from the same spot. While having a dedicated workspace is beneficial for getting into study mode, occasionally relocating to a coffee shop or park can spark inspiration and motivation. Try switching off your phone and turning on website and ad blockers to keep distractions at bay and boost concentration.
- Have a Plan B for technology — A technology-dependent course may pose problems if you’re unable to connect to Wi-Fi or if your Internet connection goes down. Having a backup plan can eliminate the chance of submitting late papers and assignments. Save projects to a USB or an online file-hosting service so you can access documents if your computer crashes. Find out the hours and requirements for accessing technology on campus or at the library
- Connect with your instructor — Maintaining a connection with your professor can help you stay on track. Some professors may offer online or in-person office hours, allowing you to communicate in more depth than a quick email allows. You can also utilize your institution’s tutors for more guidance during your course.