A still popular trend when it comes to higher education is online coursework and even degree programs. Many people opt for online classes because they fit better into already hectic schedules or because they sound easier than having to show up to class lectures and exams. But, as any seasoned online student can tell you, that’s not quite how it works.
In reality, online classes require just as much time and perhaps more discipline and hard work because you are essentially responsible for teaching yourself under a professor’s remote supervision. If you are considering your first online course and want to know what to expect, here is a basic run through of how an online class works.
1. The Book Is Not an Option
In most online environments, going without the textbook is not a choice you have. Buy the book. It’s mandatory, and it will be the only way you can pass the class. (Unless of course you are a savant in the subject or wrote the material for the course. But in either of these cases, you probably wouldn’t be stuck taking this class in the first place.)
So what have we learned? Purchase the required textbook. And do so in advance so that it arrives prior to the start date of class. The text is your only means of getting the information you need to know in front of you. Read it. Study it. Digest it. The book is your friend, and it wants you to succeed.
2. Log In All Week Long
There is really no good way to take attendance in an online class. I mean, think about it. Neither the students nor the professor ever even shows up to the classroom. In place of this, professors ask you to log in online frequently and post discussion questions and comments. Typically, these must be derived from the reading. If that doesn’t make much sense, then go back to my point number 1 and read it again.
Don’t make the mistake of logging into class for the second time during the final week of the semester and seeing that your professor has dropped you from the course. You want to engage in the conversation by checking into class several times a week to ensure that the professor has not updated the syllabus or added new information. You can also establish a virtual relationship with your professor and the other students by dialoging about what’s going on in the course, concerns with projects, study questions, etc. This all demonstrates that you care and are interested in learning. And that, my friends, adds up to a better grade at the end of the semester.
3. Stay Ahead of the Deadlines
My final piece of advice for online students is to stay on top of the homework and the big projects. If you save all your reading for the last two weeks of class, then you probably won’t be able to recover. Pay attention to deadlines, and don’t be afraid to be ahead of the game. This will protect your from emergency technical problems that can come up and will also show your professor that you are serious about taking this course. Good work doesn’t happen over night—even if it is caffeine induced all-nighter. It takes diligence throughout the semester, starting on day one.
With these tips under your belt, you will be able to achieve success in your first online course. After that, you might even be interested in completing your entire education online with schools plans like South University degree programs. This can be a great idea if you are a disciplined and diligent online student. The only thing I’m not sure about is how the host a virtual graduation ceremony. Well, you can figure that one out when you get there.