You’re probably used to having some aspect of your class held in the digital realm, but taking an entirely digital class is a horse of a different color. There are so many benefits to online learning, but it’s important that you are prepared to make the most of your time.
Manage Expectations of Online Learning
Ask any student who has taken a college-level online course and they’ll tell you that it’s easily as challenging (sometimes more so) than a physical course. So if you’re planning to take online courses because you think they’ll be easier, think again.
Confirm Technical Requirements in Advance
You can only reap the rewards of an online class if you can access the coursework. Especially if you’re using an older computer or device, check the syllabus to ensure your computer is meeting the technical requirements. If you get early access, browse through the programs and websites you’ll use during the course. This will help familiarize you with the tools, so you can work through any issues you may have before class starts.
Get to Know Your Professors
If you’re a bit of an introvert, you might be excited about the prospect of avoiding the teacher-student relationship, but do remember that it’s an important one. Having a relationship with your instructor will help get your questions answered, and it may even help connect you to the lesson. Every professor has her own teaching style and personality. If you learn your teacher’s style, the information will be easier to digest.
Keep a Tight Schedule and Avoid Procrastination
Flexibility is one of the biggest draws to online learning, but it can work against you too. When you can work in your own time at your own pace, it’s easy to put things off. On the other hand, if you schedule time for your coursework and stick to that schedule, you are less likely to fall victim to the last-minute rush. Mark off time on your calendar for the online class each week and just say no to anything else that comes up. When it’s time to get your grade, you’ll be glad you did.
Use Cloud Storage to Save Your Work
This tip can help in physical classrooms too, but it’s especially important to back-up your work when taking online courses. With apps like Dropbox or Google Drive, you can even collaborate with teachers and classmates when you’re not in the same physical location.
Form Online Learning Study Groups
Online learning can be somewhat isolating, but you can always add a social element. If you don’t already know people in the class, start sending some messages. Connect with local students and form a small study group. With the absence of a traditional lecture, it can help to talk things out with other students. They may understand something in a way you don’t or vice versa.
Digital classrooms are meant to challenge, inform and inspire you. But you must be prepared for the adjustment. To make the most out of this type of learning, understand that you are responsible for more of the organization and communication than you would be in a physical classroom. Once you get used to online learning, you’ll find a groove, and you may even want to take all classes this way.
Emily Walters is a freelance content writer. She has written for a variety of industries including business, healthcare, technology, and travel. Aside from writing, Emily enjoys traveling, gardening, and paddle boarding.