Ten success hacks for online students | Part 1

July 30, 2019

Taking online courses allows flexibility and control over your individual learning experience. Although there are some innate challenges in being an online student, you can be successful and achieve your educational goals through strategic planning. Here are some tips to help you succeed.

 Prepare and plan

It can be difficult to balance classwork with the workload of being a parent, spouse, or employee. Just as with taking in-person classes, taking online courses require you to be realistic about the demands on your time. Be prepared by knowing how much time you need to invest in each online course and plan accordingly. This might mean saying “No” to unnecessary obligations or asking for help from family members. You can even use a student planner, which will help you create time in your schedule. Then, commit to protecting that time.

 Take advantage of the resources around you

Although you alone are responsible for completing the coursework and mastering the material, we provide resources to help you navigate your online courses. Your instructor is your primary course support, but there are many others including online tutoring services and online career support. Even other students can offer support. Connect with the resources around you as soon as your course begins.

 Connect with your instructor early

It’s important to connect with your instructor early in the semester. Establish a relationship with him or her so that you feel comfortable asking questions. Feel free to email your instructor and introduce yourself. Build a rapport. Take advantage of online office hours if offered, ask questions, and engage your instructor.

 Read everything

Online instructors put tremendous effort into planning their courses and assignments, and they encourage students to read all the material at the start of the semester. To maximize success, heed their advice: read all the material and feel free to make notes and ask questions for clarification. Instructors create a specific course syllabus that is essentially a contract between you (the student) and the faculty member. In the syllabus, your instructor will introduce him or herself and describe the course, noting required readings and the best way to contact him or her. The syllabus will also specify important information such as due dates, grading scales, and policies (late assignments, course expectations, etc…). It is vital to read the syllabus and make note of pertinent information, all of which will help you feel more prepared for the semester.

 Prepare your technological devices

As an online student, you are expected to demonstrate basic computer and technical skills so you can focus on the course material. Because technology is constantly evolving, it’s important to maximize technology to help you achieve academic success. For example, computers can crash and you don’t want to lose your work. In preparation, use the cloud or Microsoft OneDrive across each of your devices, and if this is something new to you, ask for help. Also, before class begins, make sure that your favored computer device is in top condition, whether your laptop, your tablet, or even your mobile phone. Make sure that you feel comfortable working with your technology in a way that will support your study habits.

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