The fall semester is winding down. This term I’ve learned a lot from my online class both in content and about being a better student.
Here are some tips that I’ve gathered over the semester in managing an online class:
Just because you don’t meet with your professor face-to-face, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the opportunity to get in contact with them. My online professor served as a valuable resource during the semester. Professors are helpful in answering questions about course material and can help guide you in the right direction for studying and mastering course content. For instance, my professor for POLI 101 offered to give feedback on our term paper outlines and was able to give me feedback on my paper after I turned it in.
2. Print a Copy of the Syllabus
In some respects, online classes require a bit more responsibility and vigilance to make sure your work is meeting expectations. Your online instructor may not be able to remind you of expectations as easily as a traditional classroom lecturer can. It’s good to keep a reference copy of the syllabus nearby so you’ll know policies on items like discussion board postings and readings. Again, if you have any questions about the syllabus, it’s always a good idea to send your professor an email.
3. Write Down Important Dates
Many online classes incorporate discussion board postings to reinforce course material. It’s important not to miss the due dates for this simply due to negligence. An online planner or paper agenda can become your best friend because it will keep a comprehensive look of when things are due in the semester. This past term, I used a calendar from the UNC Learning Center that displayed a 3-month view of the semester in order to keep organized. Writing down dates will help you manage your time more effectively.
4. Don’t Leave Things to the Last Minute
If an assignment is due at midnight, I wouldn’t recommend that you start at 11:30 pm. It’s easy to underestimate how long an assignment will take, and you never know if you might have an unexpected problem with technology. Putting off assignments also makes it easier to forget to do them entirely. My best suggestion is to start early and perhaps even work a little bit ahead. That way, if other classes get busy or your non-academic life becomes hectic you still have a little bit of room to breathe.
5. Don’t Get Distracted
It’s tempting to do online course work lying in bed or in front of the television. However, if you do this, I can attest that you are more likely to fall asleep or get distracted than take note of the material. It’s best to find a place where you can sit and concentrate. Find a quiet work environment that will allow you to focus better and learn more. I really like studying in a library, but a positive work environment for you might be anywhere from a desk in your house to a quiet coffee shop. Pick a space with minimal distractions that is most conducive to learning.