While the benefits of taking online classes include a flexible schedule and working at your own pace, it is important to remember that the process comes with unique challenges as well. It is easy to take the freedom for granted and become overwhelmed with work.
Creating a system and following these seven tips will prove invaluable as you pursue your degree with an online university.
Create a Schedule and Stick To It
Keep ahead on homework and reading assignments by putting them on a schedule at the beginning of each week. Prioritize your assignments, work, extra-curricular activities and social events—and out of that make a schedule for the week. Having a schedule and sticking to it will ensure that the work will not pile up and overwhelm you. Give your family and friends a heads up on when you need to dedicate time to school and ask that they respect your need for that time.
Designate a Space to Be Your “Office”
The intention behind this is that you will have a clean, bright, inspiring place to call your own for doing school work. The workspace should be large enough to hold everything you need such as your laptop, textbooks, a lamp and any office supplies you may need.
It is invaluable to take time away from your online class and to have at least a day or two in your schedule where you focus on other areas of your life. This will help keep your stress levels low and will allow you to keep up other interests.
Do Work Outside of Class Work
In order to feel like what you are learning is relevant and useful in the real world, it is helpful to spend time studying your subject in other ways, such as looking articles up on the internet and seeing how the knowledge you are learning can be applied. Joining an organization related to your area of study can also help keep you interested in the material.
Organize, Organize, Organize.
This will be not only a major time-saver, but also will help you maintain your sanity come finals time. Start with keeping any print-offs you have made in the same folder or binder. It is also very useful to make sure all of your online files are organized and easy to find. Keep your calendar in a place that is near at hand and check it frequently.
Know Your Goals
Keep a list of goals in a place on your desk where you can always glance at them. You could write this list on brightly colored paper or you could even have pictures to represent your goals. This is a great way to keep your heart in what you are doing and to remind you of the bigger picture.
Get to Know Professors and Classmates
Personal connections are easily lost in the online classroom, but they can be invaluable and should be nurtured. Use others as resources and as tools for learning. Developing a relationship where you are comfortable talking to instructors and asking questions is a very good strategy for success.