Some students struggle in online courses while others thrive. Why does this occur? Are online courses harder than classroom courses? Many would say no. But, it is all about how you learn, your time management skills, and how you are able to work in a group environment that can determine your success. We are going to touch on some important tips students should be aware of if they are about to take an online course.
Depending on where you are in your career and your education level you should know what kind of learner you are. Are you a visual learner? Do you need to read something three or four times before you comprehend it? Or, can you hear it once and retain the information? If you need to see something or even write it yourself, you need to allocate extra time if you are in an online class. The good thing is, most online classes consist of videos, articles, podcasts, and papers. So online learning may actually be easier than listening to a live lecture. You are able to rewind the videos and re-read the articles at your convenience. Don't be scared to ask your professor for additional resources or time if you are struggling in a class. They are there to support your learning.
Logging in and doing your homework is half the battle! In most online classes participation is at least 30% of your overall grade. So make sure to know when your discussion board postings are due and do a good job on them! This is a very easy way to accumulate 300 points. Also, you should have your syllabus from day one, so if you see a big paper due in week three don't be scared to work ahead. There is no problem if you want to start doing some research and outlining your paper. It is better to be prepared than to have to cram everything into one week.
Group assignments are very common in online degree programs. You may not have one in every class, but you will probably encounter some during the program. Communicate through email, Skype, and discussion boards as much as possible. Make sure everyone in the group knows their role and when their part of the assignment is due. Group work can take up a lot of time so make sure to plan accordingly. If your group is not working out for whatever reason, make sure to contact your professor immediately.