6 Tips for Successful Online Study

By Staff Writer Published on August 5, 2015

Preparing for success in online classes follows a different roadmap than traditional classrooms. Thankfully, with classmates and a professor, you won’t be on your own – just going without a physical classroom and a long commute. Still, it can be easy to fall behind if you don’t plan ahead.

From having your technology ready to getting your schedule memorized, these tips will help you start strong and stay ahead in your online education journey.

1. Online classes aren’t easier, just different

There’s more to online education than listening to lectures and passing the occasional quiz. Quality online courses are just as rigorous as in-person classes, and require just as much time and effort. The advantage is that the online classes come to you and you can set up the best environment for success by treating them just as seriously as you would any other kind of class. It helps to remember that it’s the same quality of education, just delivered in a different format.

Before class starts…

2. Make sure your computer is up to the job

Online classes can use a variety of programs and websites for lectures, assignments, and communicating with your classmates and professor. Check your hardware and software against the specs your professor provides, and install any needed programs at least a week before class starts to make sure everything works.

Try out all the tools you’ll need to use, and check in if anything is confusing or doesn’t seem to be working right. You don’t want to figure out that you can’t submit an assignment right before your first deadline!

3. Make sure you understand the class schedule and syllabus

Take a look at the syllabus as soon as you can and mark your deadlines and due dates. Even better, add those dates to a calendar that will send you reminders for each deadline well ahead of time.

Jot down notes for yourself and your instructor if you have any questions. Do you understand your responsibility for quizzes? Will there be work that’s not on the syllabus? Are there recommended readings or help materials?

Make it an early priority to get a sense of your responsibilities and when the biggest workloads will be during the course.

4. Read the assignments early

Assignments may sometimes seem unclear at first, especially when we’re new to a class or a field. If you read your assignment list and other instructions a few days or weeks before the assignment is due, you’ll have time to ask questions and get an answer before you’re panicking in front of your inbox, facing a deadline. Professors expect and welcome questions from students. Always keep in mind that they want you to succeed in the class.

Once class begins…

5. Partner with your fellow students

It’s easier to end up working alone when you’re learning online, but your fellow students are resources, too. Email your teammates early, or form a study group if your class isn’t divided into teams by your professor. Share questions, ideas, and tips often, and you’ll all get more out of the class. Social media is also a resource to connect with fellow students.

6. Talk to your professor

If you don’t make an effort to reach out, even the best online professors can become just a name behind emails and grades. Introduce yourself via email or private message, and do the occasional quick check-in after class gets going – just as you would in an in-person classroom.

See a great article that made you think of last week’s lecture? Send it with a thoughtful note. Have a question from another class that would benefit from your professor’s insight? Ask away. Without in-person classroom time, it’s up to you to ask questions if things are unclear. It’s easier to do that if it isn’t the first time you’ve contacted your professor during the term.

In short, the same skills that help students succeed in traditional classrooms – participation, communication, and being prepared – will help you make the grade with online classes, too.

Pursue your passion at Independence University

Independence University offers a wide variety of fully online degree programs designed for some of today’s fastest-growing career fields, such as businesshealthcaretechnology, and graphic design.

Call 800-972-5149 or visit www.independence.edu today to learn more.