Tips for Success as an Online Student

Finding success in an online learning environment requires a great deal of personal responsibility. Without an in-person professor and classmates sitting next to you, it can be easy to stray from a set schedule. But to find success in education, students must adhere to a schedule – just like those in traditional education – and practice smart study skills. Online classes can be particularly rewarding for students, and they find that if they dedicate themselves to the coursework the results can be extremely gratifying. To achieve success as an online student, be sure to follow these tips:

Formulate a schedule: Many online students integrate their coursework into an already hectic schedule. Work, family, children and recreation can all take up a full day. Adding online classes into the mix can sometimes make it even more difficult. Before you register for classes, find out exactly what is expected of you. How many hours of study are anticipated each week? Will library research or a group project be required? Consider these factors and work time to study into your existing schedule.

Stick to your schedule: Developing a schedule is one thing, sticking to it is another. Successful online students find that adhering to a schedule is imperative in order to achieve in the virtual classroom. Put your assignments in your calendar, keep up with readings and pace yourself. Classes are often designed with busy professionals in mind, so take advantage of it. You’ll find that if you work according to schedule, the work will be much more manageable.

Don’t be shy: There’s no back row in a virtual classroom, so don’t assume that you can sit back there and avoid the instructor. In a virtual environment, it’s crucial to participate in the class discussions and message boards. In fact, your grade could be dependent on your participation. Take an active role in discussions, whether it means you are bringing up a new idea or disagreeing with one of your classmates. Always be respectful and behave professionally, and allow the rigor of intellectual discussion to further enhance your education.

Ask questions: While participation helps you make the most of your coursework, asking questions will alleviate any stresses you might have. Communication breakdowns are common in everyday life, and they will likely occur in an online learning environment. If you don’t understand an assignment or need clarification, don’t be afraid to ask. Chances are very good that a classmate has the exact same problem. Your instructor will value your participation and attention to detail.

Bring in real-life examples: You’ll find that your classmates come from many walks of life – perhaps even many different generations. Through this, you’ll find a very valuable learning experience. Bring your personal perspectives and experiences to class discussion. It will help you apply your coursework to real-life examples, and also will make the process more rewarding.

Have fun! Students enroll in online classes to complete a degree or obtain a new skill, but most important: they should be fun! Take the time to savor your online classes and enjoy the process.