Taking online courses is a great option for flexibility and efficiency. It is becoming a large part of university learning and can really benefit those in need of a flexible college schedule. Though, if you aren’t prepared, you can fall into many traps that can hurt your grade.
Do your research
Taking classes online can be entirely different than taking them in person. They can be either easier or more difficult than in person. You may want to investigate the classes your taking and what previous students have to say about the class. You can also explain the situation of it being your first time in an online class and request the syllabus ahead of time.
Buy materials early
If you’re taking online classes it may mean that you are miles away from campus and you can only access material by ordering it through the mail. Getting items, especially books, by mail may take weeks or even months. You may need to order the course textbooks very early on to ensure that you get them on time. You don’t have the option of heading down to the bookstore, so find out from your professors what you need, ahead of time.
In order to learn, you may need constant interaction, this may become a problem when navigating through an online course. You may find your learning more self-directed. Most students find that the lack of interaction with their professors and other students makes it difficult to do well. I never liked having to listen to someone ramble on about a subject, I would rather read the material on my own and turn up for assignment due dates. Though, many people don’t learn this way. You need to know whether or not you can do this before signing up.
Know your subject
Whether the online format is easier or more difficult, self-directed or not, online work requires that you have a general confidence in the subject your studying. I would never, for instance, take a math class online. However, I had no trouble taking the most difficult English courses. It’s important to know whether you are capable of teaching yourself the subject, if you have to.
One misconception of online courses is that they are very easy. In most cases, they aren’t. They rarely differ from the way they would be in person. So don’t expect to take online courses and only put in two hours of work a week. Online courses still feature online exams, written assignments and even written discussions that act as class discussion time. So make sure you carve out time as you would a face-to-face course.