People mistakenly think that earning an online degree is a piece of cake. Well, it’s not. I am taking my Master’s now using this system because I cannot afford to leave my twins in the care of a nanny. Online classes make it possible for me to learn while being at home. But it’s not even close to easy. It requires self-discipline and time management. If you are thinking about earning an online degree, here are seven tips from this distance learner that might inspire you:
1. Focus on What Interests You
People who work on earning an online degree have a goal and I am pretty sure it is more than just about getting a diploma. Like a real world classroom environment, an online environment is filled with people with various interests and personalities. And there are plenty of options to choose from when you pick your program. My two-cents worth about this is: enroll and focus on a course that interests you. You will be looking forward to logging in every day and check for group discussions and sharing of information.
2. Make Self-Discipline Your Middle Name
You need it as part of your being. You can't eliminate self-discipline from your system. Distance learning is tough – it is filled with temptations (especially when the layout of your online classroom platform is boring) to NOT work on your essay and just wait for the deadliest deadline before you cram and pass your paper. You won’t get anywhere with that attitude. Set aside time and stick to it (with few bends here and there).
3. Love to Read
There’s a whole lot of reading to do. One of my subjects required our class to read eight books – these books are spread out by chapters in various weeks for the entire semester but it's still a lot. If you don’t love reading, it will be very difficult for you to adjust to the online environment. You will be bombarded with reading materials by your professors that sometimes you just want to scream: ENOUGH ALREADY!
4. Read in Advance
Tasks are usually given a week and because your professors (mostly) will give you ample time to read those required reading and supplementary materials, you don't have any reason to say that you haven’t seen page 36. And whenever possible, finish your tasks in advance. Everybody loves an early arrival.
5. Communicate with Your Classmates
I am currently taking up a master’s degree in Language and Literacy Education and one of my classmates is an administration officer in an international school working in … guess where? Erbil, Northern Iraq! I often complain about my status as a mother, raising two children in a very comfortable home but there is Joy (let’s just call her that) who faces war-torn Iraq with a brave stand and is still able to attend class and write insightful posts. Communicate with your classmates; the stories that they tell are really amazing.
6. Master Time Management
You have to master time management if you want to earn an online degree. One of the many reasons why people opt for online classes is the fact they are very busy with professional and personal endeavors that they don't have time to be physically present in a classroom for further studies. When faced with the demands of online education, they find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of requirements, readings, and case studies, not to mention the responsibilities they hold in the office or the home. Time management is key in making sure that the door to learning is open.
7. Apply What You Learn
Currently, I am studying books which are composed of articles related to Language Acquisition - and I love them because I can practically use some of the lessons in formulating my own action plan in teaching my children how to read.
Anyone out there trying to earn an online degree?