Life can be chaotic, busy and stressful, leaving people little time to further their education in the traditional classroom. More and more students are turning to distance education programs, either through traditional universities, or online colleges. It might seem easy to take classes online, but it takes a lot of motivation and self-discipline. Here are some tips to help you be successful when taking online courses.
Make a Weekly Checklist
As a distance education student, the most important thing I do at the beginning of the week is make a weekly checklist (printable templates). At the beginning of the week, find out exactly what you need to do for each class and when it is due; reading assignments, homework, quizzes, exams, etc. Write it all down on a piece of paper, or in a word processor document. By making a list, you’ll ensure that you know exactly what’s expected of you for that week and there won’t be any hidden surprises that could pop up! As you complete the tasks on your list, you can cross them off or delete them from the list.
Set Up An Email Client
The majority of distance courses require the extensive use of email. Some people have a difficult time remembering to check their email, especially if it’s a separate one from their personal email. Setting up your email in an email client such as Outlook or Thunderbird, and then leaving the client open may make it easier to check email. The email client will automatically check for new messages as specific intervals and alert you of any new messages.
Even though distances courses may seem as though they’re easier, you still need to budget your time to study. Make sure you’re studying and working on your schoolwork a couple hours each night. It’s never a good idea to cram all of your reading and coursework in the day before the deadline.
Take A Trip to Study
Sometimes, you might find yourself too easily distracted if you’re trying to study at home. Studying at home isn’t always easy and it can be easy to get sucked into a distraction such as the television or internet. If you find yourself struggling with this, make a point to spend a few hours somewhere quiet, away from home to dedicate time just to studying, such as the library. The change of scenery and lack of distractions may help you to focus your time and energy.
Communicate With Your Instructors
Even though the course is being delivered via distance, keep in good communication with your instructors. If you find yourself struggling with certain aspects of the course, or something comes up, don’t be afraid to communicate any concerns to your instructor. Your instructor, since they don’t see you face to face, has no way of being able to tell if you’re struggling. Take the first step and ask for help when needed.
If your instructor offers any type of extra credit, don’t let it slip by! Do what you can to earn the extra points! These extra points can help cushion your grade later should you struggle with something.
Take Exams in Peace
Many online courses have timed exams that must be taken online. Do not even start the exam unless you are certain you can complete the exam in peace. If your kids are running around the house, the television is blaring, or the next door neighbor is using a chain saw, wait until you have some peace to take the exam. You’ll do better without loud distractions. You may need to schedule a time to take the exam elsewhere, such as at a relative’s house, the library or a college campus.
Even if your course is online, you could still benefit from tutoring, especially if you’re struggling. If your course is through a local university or college, you may be able to use tutoring programs on campus or professional writing services. Otherwise, you may need to look for tutoring in the local paper, or on bulletin boards. Ask around, you may find someone willing to help that fits your budget.