Go back to last year during this time and you would have found me with my knee in an ice contraption and me half awake. I had major knee surgery and sadly I had to un-enroll from school, because, let’s face it, I couldn’t even hobble to the bathroom without being out of breath. I didn’t want to fall behind on credits and becoming bored out of my mind so I decided to enroll in online classes.I am now almost a year in with taking online classes and I could not be happier. However, online classes are not the easy A that some people make them be.
There are many types of online classes. There are some that are 50% in class lecture and 50% online, Online Instruction with on-site testing, and of course 100% online. The type of class that I am going to talk to you about today are classes that are 100% online but they generally apply to an array of possibilities. I have earned an A in every online class that I have taken but it was not easy. It took a lot of self-discipline but as a result, I have grown as a person and intellectual. The common misconception of online classes is that there is little work involved. The reality is, there is often the same amount maybe, even more, work involved. Below, I am going to share with you some tips that I learned that will help you succeed in your online class.
1. Create a Schedule
It might seem common sense that you should create a schedule to do your work but it is not always that easy, especially when you have a full-time job. Whether you decide to wake up early in the morning or wait until 8:00 pm, create a time to concentrate on your studies and stick to it. Although some days you can be exhausted and want to rest, consider skipping your study time as burning an $100.00 bill. You are paying to educate yourself so why waste it?
2. Create a Workspace
Yes, your bed is comfy, but it is for sleeping–not studying. Take the time to create a space where you are going to sit and study. I recommend having a work space in your home and then a public workspace like a local library (some people can study in coffee shop but I cannot). Having a designated place to work prepares your mind to study. If you do this every day, your brain will train to focus on homework and not on Facebook. If you do choose to have a public workspace, try to have a book bag or tote to keep all of your essential school supplies (notebook, pens, pencils, post-it notes, etc). This way, you do not have to pack your supplies every time you want to study.
3. Lock up your electronics
Leave your phone in your bedroom along with any other electronics. We all know that phones are distracting and with online classes, you are already tempted by the computer in front of you. If you must have your phone near you, put it on vibrate and set it across the room. If you absolutely have to have a phone break, set an alarm for every 30 minutes. Then, check your phone. Answer all your necessary messages, set your alarm for another 30 minutes, and then get back to work.
4. Email your professor
Since you are not physically going to class, it is difficult for a professor to really know you as a student. The first week of a class I always introduce myself to the professor (if it is not already asked of you as an assignment). Even when you have a small question, email your professor. If you are uncertain of an answer, email your professor. It will surprise you how much they are willing to do. I have emailed, called, and Skyped with a professor who taught my online course. You can build a strong relationship so when they read your assignment, they see a person and not just a name.
5. Collaborate with your classmates
Many online classes have discussion forums where you can interact with your classmates. I recommend using this weekly if not daily. Online classes can make you feel isolated and that your education is “up in the air”. Through group collaboration, you build a camaraderie and a safe environment for you to ask questions as well as help other students. I have created a study guide, completed homework, and participated in chapter analysis all in class discussion forums.
Online classes are a fun and creative way to learn. Everyone has to find their own way but I believe these rules are a good start. Have you taken online classes? Do you have any tips or questions you would like to share? Please comment below!