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Preparing for your next term taking online classes

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With finals a week away, you are starting to think about next term. If have been taking online courses, you already understand the in’s and out’s of what's expected of you.

As you prepare for you next term, here are four ways you can up your game as an online student.

 
Use a profile picture 

A profile picture personalizes your posts - it helps students feel like they are in a classroom talking to one of their classmates face-to-face. Think about how you want to be represented in your profile pictures. Do you want a family photo? One of you on vacation to make you seem laid back? Or maybe a professional headshot so your posts are taken more seriously? Your profile picture is up to you.

Post first and reply often

It’s natural for you to want to be recognized when you put a lot of thought into your posts. You worked hard - your work deserves at least one reply, right? It’s hard to standout in an online class. With other students posting on the same discussion boards about the same topic, you may feel lost in the sea of other students.

In the discussion forum, try to post your ideas first. As you reply to your classmates’ responses to your post, you will develop your understanding of the coursework. It is proper online etiquette to respond to any question other students ask about what you have written. The discussion board is made for discussion- it is not a bulletin board where you post a written assignment. It is important to stay engaged with both the class and dialogue that is occurring.

Be polite and engaging

Use an engaging, specific subject line. This will help students get an idea what your post is about before they click to read your post. Make your posts engaging, too. Invite your classmates to answer questions you may have asked in your post. Instead of saying, “what does everyone else think?” be specific about what you are asking.

Also, stay positive in your posts. Don’t complain about the amount of reading you had to do for that week or how you hated recording a presentation for your class. School is hard work and can be frustrating but it’s important to stay positive and professional.

Make connections off topic and off-line

If you connect with another student’s writing in your class, email them privately and tell them. Or, if you feel like another student could use guidance, email them and offer to help. Connect with the other online students like you would in a face-to-face class.

You can also use a forum that is dedicated to off-topic subjects. Many online classes have these forums because professors want you to have the opportunity to make personal and professional connections in class. These forums may be called, “the virtual student lounge” and “online break room”.

We hope these four tips will make your online learning experience a great one next term.

Can you think of other ways online students can become more active in their classes? Leave us a comment and tell us.

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