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Catherine Martin

The Top 5 Things to Remember When Taking Online Classes

Taking an online course can be a welcome change of pace from a traditional, in-person class, no matter whether it is your first or fifth experience with online education. However, if you are about to take your first online course, you may be nervous about how to do your best. If you are, take note of the top five things to remember when learning online:

  1. Research the class and school

Before you enroll for an online class, it is important to research the course and the host university. Occasionally, students who are in need of college credits will select a school other than their home institution, but they may do so blindly, based only on the available classes. At the very least, you should ensure that the school you choose is accredited. If it is not, the credits you earn may not be transferable. You should also be cautious when selecting courses. Different online classes fulfill different requirements, and not all courses are equally useful. Speak with your academic advisor or registrar before you commit to any class.

  1. Complete coursework on time

Once you enroll in an online course, it is time to turn your attention to your classwork. In an online course, you may have fewer deadlines, and there may be no set class sessions. It may thus be very easy to procrastinate, and you may soon find yourself overwhelmed with work. To avoid this outcome, establish deadlines for yourself that will enable you to complete the coursework gradually over the semester.

  1. Set a reasonable class schedule

Just as procrastinating can swiftly lead to an overwhelming situation, so, too, can a class schedule that is too busy or a single course that is too difficult. Many students underestimate the difficulty of online classes—this is one reason why it is important to conduct research prior to enrolling. If possible, review the curriculum, and ask others who have taken the course for their opinions. Treat online classes like regular in-person courses when arranging your schedule, and avoid overburdening yourself.

  1. Communicate early and often

Because online courses are held in the virtual world, students often forget that their instructor and peers exist in the real world—and that the success of the class partially depends on their participation. Remain in constant contact with your professor, checking in weekly if you can, to ensure that you understand the material and have submitted all assignments to date. Communication is key, even if it is done digitally.

  1. Be original

In any course, it is important that your work is your own. Even when a class is online, it is not okay to present others’ material as your own. It is also not okay to cheat on exams, even if you are not being supervised in the ways that you would be in a brick-and-mortar classroom. Eventually, you will be caught. Ultimately, the simplest way to ensure that an online course goes smoothly is to treat it just like you would a regular class.

Does an online degree sound like the right fit for you? Check out the online degrees we offer at Bryant & Stratton College and get started on your new future.

Catherine Martin is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.


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