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How To Prepare For Online Classes

Sunday, March 22, 2020

For students in schools across the country, classes that started in person in January and February are being moved online for the remainder of the spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If your school is transitioning to online learning, you may be wondering how to prepare for online classes and exams.

On-campus classes generally involve some combination of attending lectures, participating in discussions, completing and turning in papers and other assignments, and taking exams. The good news is that in today’s technology-driven world, you can do all of these tasks remotely. 

Preparing for Online Classes 

If this is your first experience with distance learning, we’ve compiled these tips to help you effectively prepare for classes:

  • Location: Find a good place in your home where you will be able to study consistently. Ideally, this is a dedicated space away from other distractions.
  • Tools: Become familiar with the format and technology your teachers will use, and be sure to have the necessary equipment. An up-to-date computer, reliable Internet connectivity and anti-virus software can help make sure you will be able to participate.
  • Time management: A big component of successful online learning is being able to self-motivate and manage your time effectively. Create a schedule and hold yourself accountable for meeting course obligations.
  • Communicate: Interactions with classmates and instructors will be different through online learning, but don’t be afraid to participate. Most interactions will be electronic through email or online chat tools. Engage in the class discussion boards as much as possible and don’t be afraid to reach out to teachers for clarification on anything, just like in the classroom.

How to Prepare for an Online Exam

Now that we’ve covered how to prepare for online classes, let’s turn to some tips on how to prepare for an online test:

  • Study: Set aside time to study. It can be easy to let your personal life and schoolwork bleed together when studying at home and attending classes remotely. Try to resist that temptation and stick to your plan.
  • Understand testing parameters: Depending on the format and software your instructors are using, you might have a set amount of time to complete an exam. Be sure you understand what the time limitations are, so you don’t inadvertently run out of time.
  • Beware of “open-book” tests: Your school/instructors may allow you to use study materials, making tests an “open-book” format. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security thinking you can simply look up each answer as you go. If you haven’t adequately prepared, this strategy is likely to backfire, and you will not have enough time to complete the exam.

Leverage Support Options Available Through Your School 

For many secondary and post-secondary schools, the current pandemic is forcing the transition to online learning. For other schools, online learning is an established option. If you are taking online courses toward your high school or college degree, learn about your school’s programs and support services. Your school wants you to succeed, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of the technology help desk, library and other student services resources.

MacCormac College in Chicago offers several accredited associate degree programs that are available entirely online. Distance learning offers students flexibility, allowing degree candidates to take courses on their schedules without having to commute to and from the college campus.