With a busy life full of many commitments, my only option for further education was to undertake a college course remotely. I still travel to my campus for some good old-fashioned contact hours, and during this limited time I always see the advantages of the traditional classroom environment. It is far more engaging than sitting in front of a computer screen, and because of this it is much easier to get motivated and stay motivated. For people like me who must take the online class approach however, it is important to know how to use the resources available and how to learn effectively. This guide will help you succeed. Here are my tips for taking online classes.
1. Find Your Discipline and Keep It
From working with your thesis essay format to revising for the big exam, procrastination is the root of all failure and it affects all but the most disciplined of us. This is a difficult thing about online classes, because unlike the traditional classroom, you are 100% responsible for your learning and for keeping focused. If you are finding that you don’t have the discipline to stay focused, you should think about changing your working environment, and what sources of procrastination are around you.
- Print Out the Course Material
This point lies closely with maintaining discipline and avoiding procrastination. Using your computer to learn your course is not as good as printing out the material and learning it that way, because your computer comes equipped with many different sources of procrastination. After a while a computer screen can also affect your eyes and give you headaches. If you print out the course material you can take it to a nice quiet place and learn in the right environment with no sources of distraction, and thanks to the wonder of paper you can write all over it and make notes.
- Buy an Old Computer
This might sound silly, but buying an old computer really does help you stay committed to your studies. This is because they provide the basically functionality you need to work and revise with word processors, PDF viewers and so on, but they are low-spec and therefore cannot be used to watch HD movies, play audio or browse modern websites. They give you what you need for your education, but nothing more, which is again great for keeping your discipline.
- Set Your Course as Your Home Page
This is a neat little trick that works wonders for those crucial first moments when you decide to do some learning. You click on your browser, and instead of the first page being something non-educational, you are right at your class portal. This will help you get on with work right from the get-go, as opposed to being lured to other sites that will waste your time.
2. Keep in Contact with Your Professor
Most people who take online classes rarely contact their professor, if ever. Some people think that because they take online classes, they are not permitted to use the teaching support available to them, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is a very bad move not to use this support, and you should never be afraid to ask questions when you get into difficulty or when you want to further your understanding. It is the professors job to support all students, so whether you have a simple question regarding an essay format or a deeper question relating to something outside the scope of the course, get in contact.
3. Learn the Syllabus
Students often fail to learn their syllabus properly, and the situation is often worse for online students because there is less direction from the teacher. If you don’t know every single topic and concept that makes up your course syllabus, you have a much higher chance of failing the course when you sit down to take your exam and find yourself staring at a question you don’t know how to even begin answering. You will also fail to see how the course fits together as a whole, which is needed for a good conceptual understand, which in turn makes you better at answering test questions that might otherwise through you off.