7 Smart Tips to Know When Taking an Online Course

By Brittany Loeffler on May 23, 2018

In the busy life of a college student, some may consider taking an online course. It fits in easily with hectic schedules and can be more convenient than sitting in a classroom at a designated time. However, taking an online course is a completely different experience. An experience that you may need to prepare for.

Since taking an online course is so different than sitting in a physical classroom, you’re going to need some tips in order to successfully learn the material and pass the course. We’ve come up with a few smart tips to ensure you get the most out of your online course experience.

online course

via Pixabay

Set Up Your Technology

A week or two before you start your online course, make sure you have the technological support that you will need. This could be a computer program, webcam, microphone, or a certain computer in general. It may take some time to get these devices if you don’t already have them.

If you do have everything you need, run a quick diagnostics and check to make sure everything is in working order. Nobody likes showing up to the first class unprepared!

Hold Yourself Accountable

When taking an online course, you need to hold yourself accountable for completing assignments and learning the material provided. It’s easy to forget about an assignment because you aren’t in a classroom talking to your classmates about the course.

It’s also easy to decide not to pay attention to your online course. Whether the set up of the course is through readings, videos, or live online classes, it’s important to dedicate your full attention to your instructor.

Find a Designated Study Space

Claim a designated study space when you take your online course. Treat it as if you are going to a classroom for every class meeting, but you get to choose the spot. Maybe it’s a couch in your living room. It could be your favorite coffee shop on campus. Or it could be right from your desk in your room. Choose a space where you can concentrate on your online course and where you won’t be distracted.

You may feel tempted to lay in bed and take your online course because it’s super comfortable. That could cause you to pay less attention to the material, though. It’s best to find a productive space where you know all of your attention will be on your online course.

Take It With a Friend

Stay motivated when taking an online course by taking it with a friend. When you know someone else who is learning the same thing and going through the same experience, you can help each other stay motivated and answer any questions that may come up.

Since there isn’t face-to-face interaction with other people taking the class, it’s nice to have a friend to study with before a big exam or work on a project together.

Make a Schedule

Every online course is different. Some may require you to “meet” with the professor at a designated time each week while others can be taken at your own pace. When an online course can be taken at your own pace, it’s important to make a schedule and dedicate specific times to learning and studying.

Set a goal for when you would like to finish the course and plan out how many chapters or modules you will have to complete each week and how long they should take you. Write it down on your calendar and make sure to stick to it!

email online course

via Pixabay

Connect with the Instructor

Students taking an online course may be under the impression that because they are not seeing their instructor face-to-face means that they are not as dedicated to their students’ success. It’s important to communicate with your instructor, especially if you have a question or concern with the online course.

Some courses may offer instant chat features to contact your instructor quickly. If not, just send an email! It’s as easy as that!

Know That Online Classes Aren’t Easier

People are under the impression that an online course is easier than taking an in-person class. This isn’t always the case. It may be much harder due to the content material or the set up of the course. So, don’t go into the online course assuming that it is going to be easier and think that you can just coast your way through. Be prepared to work hard and dedicate a lot of time to studying and completing assignments.

Succeed in an Online Course

When you go into an online course knowing that it may be harder than an in-person class, dedicate time and a study space, and hold yourself accountable for all of the work, you’ll definitely pass! Don’t be afraid to reach out to the instructor with any questions too!

By Brittany Loeffler

Uloop Writer
Brittany is a senior English major with a concentration in creative writing at Temple University. After growing up in a very rural part of Pennsylvania, she found her calling in the streets of the big city of Philadelphia. Aside from writing, she enjoys reading, movies, baking, and photography.

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