So you’re taking a course online! Learning online is just as challenging as learning in a traditional classroom, but the challenges are different. Whether this is your first time or whether you’ve taken online courses before, keeping a few simple tips in mind can help you rise to the challenge.
Expect to be challenged
Online courses are not easier than traditional classroom courses—in fact, some say they require more effort. If you begin with an attitude of willingness to work hard, you are well on your way to success. Take an online readiness quiz to see if online is right for you.
Mark your planner in red ink
The beauty of an online class is that it allows you to work whenever you want, but without a plan it’s easy to fall behind. Set aside regular blocks of time in your daily schedule (9-12 hours per week for a 3-credit course) and make these times a priority.
Contribute your “two cents”
Much of the learning in an online course happens through group discussion. Go beyond the minimum required participation, and be open-minded to other people’s points of view. You may find that online discussion is more comfortable than face-to-face discussion.
Complete projects on-time
Online courses move quickly. If you fall behind, it will be difficult to catch up.
Ask a question!
Your instructor won’t know you need help unless you speak up. Also, if you have a question the chances are high that others do, too. Ask early and often.
Think before you type
Your writing is your instructor’s key to evaluating your progress in the course, so be sure that everything you submit is thoughtful and well-polished. Always reread what you’ve written before you click “Send.”
Track your progress
View your grades in the Moodle sidebar to keep an eye on your standing in the course.
Think like a Boy Scout
“Always be prepared.” Plan how to work around unexpected technical problems. Have an alternate place to access the internet and the necessary software. Also, make back-up copies of all your homework—you don’t want to miss turning in an assignment because of a computer crash.
Most importantly, don’t cheat yourself
The opportunity to learn is a great privilege—don’t waste it! If you work only for the grade, you’ll leave with nothing more than a letter on a piece of paper that will mean nothing five years from now. Take the content seriously and strive to learn from each other and the professor.