I was asked by my cousin (we actually met on Facebook) to give her keys to success as she continues her collegiate career in an online environment. I was excited she decided to continue on to a Gradate program after completing her Bachelors’ within the same year. She’s starting an online journey so I thought I’d share “best practices” that have lead to my success as an online student.
90 percent of my Associates’ Degree is from online classes. Here are a few thoughts/practices I use as templates for success. As working professionals, it’s very important for us to use judgement and wisdom when engaging in online classes.
- Finding the right class.
- Ensure your class is not a hybrid where there is a split portion between online and onsite requirement
- Ensure the class(es) you take line up with your particular goals and degree.
- Utilize your academic advisor. I would have saved about 12 credit hours early on if I had done this.
- Find out your professor in advance and do research on their teaching style. I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into professor rating sites. However, the particular link has not led me astray.
- Find out what book you need but wait for a final word from your professor, which is why I recommend finding out your instructor and emailing them in advance.
- Use Amazon to rent books. Way more cost effective!
- Download your syllabus and print it out immediately.
- Cross off your assignment as they happen
- Ensure you put all your deadlines on your calendar immediately and setup reminders
- Syllabus’ can shift often so ensure you keep a tight look on your professors announcements
- Balance your family, your job, and your education
- Be intentional in your communication. Even though you are online and not in a classroom, your home is your classroom.
- If you’re utilizing Blackboard at your Learning Management System (LMS), download the Mobile Learn App.
- Subscribe to all discussions. Email can be a bit cumbersome when people are updating but I find it valuable so I know when to respond to post
- If your class has exams, ensure you find out if there is a webcam requirement. If so, you’ll have to pay for the software monitoring system at your own cost, typically $54 – $75
- Take what you can handle. Adult Learning is a life journey not a quickie. If you are working and have a family I don’t recommend taking more than 2 classes. Ensure you adjust to the demands of your family, your job, and other responsibilities you may have.
You will either be your own best friend or own your worst enemy with online classes. You have to be disciplined. You are the professor, the teacher, the student, and the leader of your own success. I’ve had great success and I am only stressed when I don’t follow 100% of the playbook I listed above.
These are a few tips I shared with my cousin. Feel free to comment and add more.