Staying on track with online courses

Online courses

Online courses provide you with a lot of flexibility when it comes to your coursework.  While this can be ideal, it can make it hard to stay on track.

The structure that you naturally get with a face-to-face course is lacking and you have to be proactive in creating this.  Fortunately, there are some tips you can take to stay on track.

Have The Right Expectations

A lot of people think that online courses are the ones that you can blow-off, but this is not the case.  They will have the same rigor academically as the traditional classroom counterparts. Online courses are blowing up. A lot of online courses will condense a full semester of content into half that time which doubles the pace of the course.  It is important that you approach these courses with this idea in mind so you are not caught off guard and fall behind.

Create A Good Workspace

On a traditional course, you will spend time between the classroom and a place to study and complete your assignments.  When you take an online course, all your time is spent outside of the classroom.  This is why you need to have a good place to work on your course.

The best place will be quiet and have a good internet connection.  You should have access to power and be free from distractions.  This is a place you should be able to visit regularly during your course because you know you have to get down to business when there.

Understand Your Resources

As soon as you can, you need to look at the websites, technologies, and resources you will be using for the course and master them.  Your computer will need to work correctly and you have to install all the necessary software while ensuring your browser is up to date.  If your course calls for special tools, you need to test them as soon as possible so you can focus your attention on the course materials.  You should also become familiar with the library at the university and how it can help you as an online student.

Be Organized

You need to be organized when you take an online course.  All your files have to be organized in a way that you understand.  It is also important that you have a copy of anything you submit for the course should you need to resubmit.  You also need to take notes while you are doing readings and watching your lectures as you would with any other class.

Manage Your Time

An important part of staying organized is having strong time management skills.  While online courses offer flexibility when you are studying, you have to manage your study time correctly.  It is recommended that you schedule a time for your classes as you would have with a traditional course.  This makes it easier to manage your time and get your assignments in on time.

When blocking this time, you need to stick to your schedule.  Tell your friends and family that you are not available at these times and use your designated workspace during these times.  You also need to keep track of your due dates for assignments and add them to any personal calendars.

Meet Your Instructor And Peers

While you are going to watch the lectures on your own, you are not actually alone.  Online courses allow you to interact with your peers and instructor while being tutored, which is vital if you want an engaging experience.  Many online courses will have an icebreaker activity that you can join early-on which helps you get to know your classmates.

If your course lacks this activity, you need to take the time to introduce yourself to your classmates.  There are the people who you are going to work with for the rest of the course and it pays to have a good relationship with them.

You need to do more than introduce yourself and then retreat into isolation.  Staying in touch can help you if you ever have any issues with the course.