How to Make Sure You Succeed in Online Courses

Make sure

Online classes have a lot to recommend . There’s no commute and the schedule is flexible. But the lack of regular face-to-face contact with an instructor can also make it challenging for some students to meet all the deadlines and make sure they’re absorbing all the material.

As an instructor  of Improving English As a Second Language on line, may I offer these tips for getting the most out of an online class:

Log in consistently
Self-discipline and good planning are keys to success in online on line
Logging in several times per week lets students see messages from the professor, go through the content and make sure they are on top of the due dates for class materials. Because the classroom is online, students who fail to log in often can find it difficult to keep up. Research has shown that the students that do log on consistently are far more successful than those that don’t,.Being present is really important.

Carve out time for classes
Most students who take online courses have other commitments as well, such as work or a family. Sometimes the online learning gets pushed aside, A key to success is to put several online sessions on the calendar each week . In a traditional classroom, students have a set time to attend and may hear reminders from the professor or other students about upcoming deadlines. With an online class, you have to go in and be proactive.
You will be more successful if at the beginning of the week you make a plan, as opposed to logging on ‘when I have time,’ which is usually never.

Look at the big picture
At the beginning of the course, students should read the outline and syllabus, printing it out if possible so it’s handy for reference. Especially with the first online class or the first course using a particular online system, there’s so much to take in — to find where things are located, to know what’s expected, to read the assignments — that you can’t assimilate it all at first. The syllabus is a good place to start for an overview.

Mark important due dates on your calendar
As they read the syllabus at the beginning of the class, students should write the due dates in their calendar. Time slips by when you’re working and busy. It is suggested tot add reminders a few days before each due date.

Jump into online discussions
Some students feel intimidated by discussion forums, but they’re a crucial part of online learning because they provide interaction with other students. Students should post an introduction if that’s part of the course and then contribute regularly to the discussions. It’s normal to feel a little bit hesitant at first, but it’s best to get involved right away than to do it on the sidelines. You’ll learn far more by getting involved.

Ask a lot of questions
Online courses are set up to provide a lot of information in a lot of ways — and sometimes it can be confusing to figure out who can answer which questions. For questions about uploading an assignment, for example, tech support is a good first contact. For questions about course registration or payment, check with the school’s administrative offices. For questions about completing an assignment, the instructor is the first person to ask, though first check to be sure the answer is not on the syllabus.

These tips may seem like common sense — many of them apply to classroom classes as well, though in slightly different ways. But it takes time to get used to a new medium It’s very different than the face-to-face class,. Once you do it the first time around, then it will start to be far more comfortable.

by Ms. D Sagucio, Ph D. Linguistics