Taking an online course can offer many real benefits, but the experience can be new and different for many students. While you may not need to be in the classroom on a specific day each week, you’ll still need to manage your time well to complete assignments on time. Forum posts, assignments, quizzes, and reading will still be due at regular intervals.
Use the Following Tips to Stay on Track:
- When you start your course, take time to completely explore Moodle, your online learning environment, and your new syllabus. Understand when forum posts are due each week, as well as other assignments.
- Investigate the different elements of your course so you’ll know where things are located, such as resources, how to contact your instructor, and other course information. Be sure you understand the technology, if you don't, make time to learn more through IT support.
- Always check your course announcements for new information. Instructors often alert you to changes in the course timeline or other new information or resources.
- There are many myths about online learning, including that online courses are easier than in-person. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Self-discipline is just as important for online learning. Commit to a schedule each week for completing reading, assignments and forum posts. Online courses take as much if not more time than a traditional in-person course. Use our time management tips to stay on track!
- It’s often helpful to read discussion forum questions prior to completing your reading assignments for the week. Taking notes while reading will help you be prepared to answer the questions you viewed earlier. Strive to finish discussion forum posts early, so you can avoid feeling pressure as the deadline approaches.
- Ask for help early if you begin to struggle with course concepts. This can include speaking to your instructor, reaching out to another student for help or using tutoring services. Asking for help early can help you avoid larger issues down the line.
- When studying a complex topic, sometimes your textbook just isn’t enough to make you feel as if you’ve fully grasped the concept. Use Google and other research tools to bridge the gap. You’ll find videos, websites, and blogs that may be extremely helpful to you.
- Create a distraction-free zone where you can focus on your coursework. This will help you concentrate and finish your coursework that much faster.
- Check in on your course daily to remind yourself what’s due and to see what others are posting to the forums.
- Learn how to format your writing assignments as understanding APA or MLA is an important competency for any student. Don’t wait until the last minute when a paper deadline is looming as this will lead to stress and mistakes. Purdue’s OWL is a great resource.
- To stay motivated, don’t lose sight of your end goal: a new degree and new career. Having a rewarding end goal will help you stay committed in your course.
- Got all of our tips covered? There are other ways you can up your game as an online student!