Online learning provides a flexible and affordable option for students at any age to earn a degree. Taking on a degree major online is going to require a certain level of commitment on your part. The following areas are what you need to consider when embarking on this higher education path:
Make Time for Your Study
Depending on your course load you can expect to set aside anywhere between 4 to 15 hours per week per class. Some more, some less. The great thing about online learning is that this time can be on your own schedule.
Keep Up with the Assignments
Just because you are taking your class from your living room doesn’t mean you can slack off. You’re still being graded and still required to turn in every assignment on time. There is no “my dog ate my homework” excuses with online learning!
Open Your Mind to Critical Thinking
No one is asking you to give up your opinions around a certain issue. Even with preconceived notions, you can come at a topic with a fresh perspective. Part of the learning process is to apply critical thinking. That means looking at both sides of an argument evenly and evaluating the points on their merits.
Get the Right Internet Hook Up
You want to make sure you’ve got a decent Internet hook up. You don’t want to start out frustrated at the amount of time it takes for you to log into your class or download the reading material. It might be time for a Wi-Fi upgrade. The same could be said for your computer. Give yourself the best “tools” to achieve success.
Think Before You Post
Most of your participation in an online class will be conducted through your posts in a class message board. Before you post, read over what you’re writing to make sure it is coherent and not inflammatory. You might be used to posting social media where the discussions roam freely. In an online class, you need to stay on topic with your posts. If some other poster begins to stray, then bring them back to the topic. This is all about how concise and productive you can be.
Become an Active Participant
You might have gotten away with sitting in the back of the classroom and flying under the radar but with online learning, everyone is expected to participate and share their opinions. In fact, this is exactly how you’ll be graded.
Ask for Help
If you don’t understand something from the course material or are having issues with the class website, then ask for help. Your instructor and fellow classmates are standing by to offer assistance. Don’t fall behind because you don’t understand. Clarity can be just an email away.