We discuss online learning a lot here on YHP. In a previous article, we talked about how online courses can unlock your transportation career potential. Programs designed to prepare you for a bright career in many fields are available. Online courses are becoming more popular now that top universities have started to offer them, and you don’t just have more universities to choose from but more programs.
At the same time, online courses are attracting students from around the world. They allow students to earn a higher degree from a US- or European-based university without having to relocate or attend offline classes. The programs themselves are designed to be flexible.
That said, taking an online course can be challenging. The extra flexibility you get from these top online courses and the fact that they follow the same strict standards as the equivalent offline programs certainly makes completing an online course challenging. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to boost your chances of success as an online student, and we are going to review the best tips and tricks to use in this article.
1. Get to Know the Online Learning Platform
Online courses are delivered through online learning systems. Depending on the university, you will gain access to an online learning platform, on which you can find course materials, lecture videos, and other features.
The sooner you get to know the online learning platform, the more effective you will be as a student. Don’t just skip the introductory wizard when you first access the learning platform. You will find a lot of tools and resources to use.
Getting to know the online learning platform also helps you avoid unnecessary mistakes. Make sure the platform is set up so that you can always stay on top of the classes you take without hassle. It is a basic step to complete but one that will prove to be useful.
Just because you are pursuing a degree online, it doesn’t mean you don’t have classmates and lecturers. Using the online learning system, you can communicate with lecturers, attend online classes, and get in touch with fellow students.
Communicating as an online student is important. For example, greeting your lecturers at the beginning of each semester allows you to get the assistance you need as you complete their classes.
The same is true with other students in the program. In many occasions, online students communicate using means other than the online learning platform. To be part of discussions and make communicating with other students easier, connecting with them early in the semester is a must.
3. Stay Organized
It may be tempting to simply download course materials into one folder and hope for the best as it’s the easiest way to do it. However, staying organized as an online student is important. When you have course materials and assignments to deal with, knowing where to find a particular file is a plus.
Create a folder for every class you take, and make sure you organize the learning materials and other files associated with the class accordingly. Don’t hesitate to rename files to make them easier to search. You can also use tagging and other features to organize your files.
The same tip can be applied to files created by you, including assignments and papers. Mark files clearly so you don’t end up with difficulties when searching for them later. You can also rename files based on certain parameters, such as whether the paper is a draft or one that has been submitted.
4. Understand Your Goals
Another thing that many online students neglect to do is set clear objectives. It is important that you understand your goals before enrolling in an online program as they will keep you motivated and on track as the course gets more challenging.
There are several objectives to aim for too. For instance, you can aim to master specific skills along the course. This objective, in turn, will help you select which classes to take. It will also help you maintain focus on the subjects you want to master.
Having clear objectives is also helpful when you are choosing a course to take. Now that top universities like Southern Cross University have many programs to choose from, setting clear objectives for yourself certainly helps with the selection process.
5. Check the Technical Requirements
A common mistake made by online students is assuming that every class is the same. You must understand the technical requirements of each class before taking it.
For example, some nursing programs require you to attend an offline lecture for certain classes. Assuming that the entire course is conducted online will result in you failing that class for not meeting the technical requirement.
The same is true with assignments and exams. You may have to submit papers or complete exams at predetermined times in order to complete classes. Make sure you pay attention to these details whenever you start a new semester.
6. Find a Study Environment
Distractions can hamper your progress as an online student, which is why you have to create a suitable environment for studying. There are two key components to a good study environment: the right location or ambience and an allocated time for studying.
Finding a place for studying is relatively easy. Your favorite coffee shop, a nearby library, or the meeting room at the office could all be the perfect environment for studying. You can also study at home as long as you can minimize distractions.
Allocating time for studying, on the other hand, is a bit more challenging. A good way to start is by allocating an hour every day, during which you completely focus on the classes you take. Increase the amount of allocated time as you progress.
7. Use a Task Management Tool
Keep in mind that life as an online student requires you to do handle a lot of tasks at the same time. These tasks are even more challenging to deal with when you also work a full-time job or have a family to take care of. Never underestimate the value of good task management.
Don’t hesitate to adopt a system that helps you manage your tasks better. Using the Calendar app on your phone is a start, but you can also achieve more and be meticulous with how you manage tasks by utilizing tools like the Kanban system.
Of course, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a good task management tool. Apps like Trello are available for free and allow you to keep tasks under control at all times. But the visual nature of Kanban helps make tasks more manageable.
8. Get Help
You don’t have to do everything on your own when studying online. As mentioned before, you have lecturers and fellow students to rely on. Your support system, however, needs to extend beyond the boundaries of the online learning system.
When you decide to take an online course and pursue a degree, make sure you get the support of your family and friends. At the very least, they can help you stay on track during your study; a partner that plays with the kids while you are studying is a good example.
Getting the help of coworkers or those who have already earned the degree you are pursuing is also a good idea. You can ask questions about the subjects you are studying, enlist their help when working on your papers, and more. There are still so many things you can do, but these 8 tips will help you succeed as an online student.