Finding a Balance
In order to have a successful online learning experience, you must be able to balance your responsibilities. Setting priorities will be key to getting the most from your online education. Review your online courses early in the semester to determine your weekly coursework and do your best to plan ahead. In most cases, your instructor will provide you with a Course Roadmap that details all material covered in your course. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your instructor if you foresee any conflicts or need any additional clarification. By reviewing your courseload early, you will be able to more knowledgeably respond to other important time requests in your life.
Keeping Stress to a Minimum
Below you will find some strategies to help you keep course-related stress to a minimum:
- Plan ahead. If you know early on that your time will be limited during any given week, do your coursework ahead of time or speak with your instructor to make alternate arrangements.
- Be aware of deadlines. This includes not only course-related deadlines, such as assignments, but important events in your personal life while you are enrolled in the course.
- Log in to your course daily. Even if you don’t have a lot of time in any given day, logging in daily allows you to stay current with the latest discussions or be aware of important announcements. You are far less likely to get behind if you check in daily.
- Be familiar with your course resources. Knowing your available resources, especially technological ones, can help you have a better overall experience in the virtual classroom.
- Keep an open line of communicaiton with your instructor. If you have any questions or begin falling behind, let your instructor know immediately. Your instructor can help you make alternative arrangements or work with you to create a plan to catch up.
In an online course, you are even more responsible for your own learning. Your instructor is not there with you face-to-face to “impart knowledge” through a lecture. You must be even more diligent about your work in an online class. Set daily goals and weekly goals of coursework to accomplish so that you can be successful.
Most instructors will provide you early on with a list of Course and/or Faculty expectations. Read them thoroughly and make sure you have a clear understanding of any requirements and expectations. Instructors will provide you with a course syllabus as well. Make sure you reach out to your instructor with any questions.
In the virtual classroom, it is even more important for you to speak up if you have any questions. Instructors cannot see your face or hear your tone to help them know if you are “lost.” In most cases, if you have a question you are not alone. Your questions may help others in the course as well. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Learning the material in an online course rests squarely on your shoulders. You should actively find ways to understand your course material. Many instructors will provide multiple ways for you to learn a particular topic. Make sure to read, listen to, watch, and participate actively in the course. Be involved in any discussion board forums, sharing substantive information that furthers the discussion.
Self-discipline may be the single most important trait of any successful online student. With self-discipline, you are better able to manage your time and minimize unforeseen difficulties. Here are some tips to help:
- Know when assignments are due; print your course schedule/course roadmap. Set up reminders.
- Set up a schedule of when you will log in to the class and stick to it, for example, M-W-F at 2 p.m. and Sat. at 3 p.m.
- Minimize distractions while online. Find a quiet place to study, or a place you have used in the past to study for other classes.
- Ensure consistent access to a computer. To be successful online, you MUST have reliable access to a computer.
- Have an alternative plan in case you have computer problems, such as a backup computer or access to a public library.