In the past, earning a college degree meant physically attending in-person classes, which often posed challenges for working professionals or those with complicated schedules. Now, thanks to advances in technology, it’s easier than ever to find a degree program that offers the flexibility you need, whether through traditional in-person classes, online learning, or a blend of the two.
There are many advantages to online courses; they allow you to learn whenever, wherever, and however works best for you, making it easier to earn a degree while balancing work and family commitments. And without having to attend classes in person, online learning affords you access to top degree programs across the country that might have otherwise been inaccessible or highly inconvenient.
Online classes can present unique challenges, however, if you’re not prepared. But if you develop skills for effective online learning, you’ll find the courses can be an excellent alternative to a traditional classroom setting. Here are some tips for online learning success to make sure you get the most value out of your next class.
Tips for Taking Online Classes
If you’re considering taking online college courses (or you’re already enrolled in a program) the tips and advice below can help you address their unique challenges to get the most value out of your online program.
1. Treat an online course like a “real” course.
When it comes to online classes, you need to have the discipline to sit down and say, “I am going to work on this,” as well as the dedication to actually follow through. Though you can be flexible as to when you choose to complete your work during the week, you can’t put it off indefinitely.
One of the easiest ways to ensure follow through is to remember that you are paying to take this online course, just as you would for a traditional, in-person class. You must “show up” if you’re going to get real value out of your class. Treat your online classes the same way you would a face-to-face class—or, better yet, a job—and you’ll be off to the right start.
2. Hold yourself accountable
Set goals at the beginning of the semester, and check in with yourself weekly. In a traditional classroom setting, you’ll often receive verbal or visual reminders of an assignment’s upcoming due date. But without a professor actively reminding you, it’s up to you to make sure you’ve allotted enough time to complete the work so you’re not starting an assignment the day before it’s due.
If you’re having trouble holding yourself responsible, pair up with a fellow classmate, or enlist the help of a spouse or friend to check in as an accountability partner. By being organized, proactive, and self-aware, you can get the most from your online class even when life outside of school becomes chaotic.