Technology is evolving rapidly, and everything is becoming more convenient with it. Computers are faster, communication is faster and health care is more efficient. Along with this has come the rise of online college.
An online college allows you to study university-level courses from the comfort of your home. This makes learning more accessible and takes away the horror of commuting to class every day. All you need to do is get dressed, open your computer and study.
Online college isn’t convincing to some people, as it’s not a physical class where you can see your classmates and your professor. Fear not; it’s the same as regular college, minus the 3D aspect. You’ll be getting the same degree and accreditation. A real professor will handle the course, and other college students will join you in taking it. The only thing that’s different is your study environment, as you won’t be inside a classroom, but instead in your own home. Even though you won’t be able to see your classmates physically, you’ll often still see them through their webcams.
You may be interested in attending an online college, but not know what to do to prepare. The following is a list of tips to send you on your way:
Prepare Your Materials
Before your class starts, you should have all the necessary materials on hand so that you don’t have to keep standing up to go and get things. Along with this, you should prepare your computer, since the study material will be handed out to you virtually. Make sure to check that your software’s working correctly, and that you have the right kind installed on your computer. You need to be able to open PDF, PowerPoint and Word files since these are the most commonly distributed by professors. Don’t forget to prepare your computer physically, by having a working keyboard, mouse, speakers, microphone, web camera and printer. It never hurts to have a supply of school stationary either.
Since whatever you’re using will be an electronic device such as a laptop or tablet, make sure that you have a charger nearby so that it doesn’t die in the middle of your class. Having your laptop charger far away from you means both having to look for it and risking missing significant parts of your class.
Before purchasing any software online, check-in with your university first as they’ll most likely provide you with the tools you need for free.
Have Your Designated Study Area
One of the most important things that you need to provide for yourself is a study area that’s quiet and distraction-free.
With a study area, you’ll be able to gain focus and be more organized. You should at least have a desk for your computer, books, notebooks, a highlighter and a pen. It’s be challenging to study with distraction all around you. When you have a limited workspace, it’s important to keep it neat and tidy.
When you’ve chosen a specific place in your house, it’ll help your mind settle with the fact that you’re there to study and not do anything else. Moving to places where you usually sit back and relax will only make your brain confused if you’re supposed to be studying.
With an online college, you’re practically free to do what you like. You can surf the net while your class is going on, chat with your friends or even play games on your mobile phone. While you can stay distracted comfortably, you’re the one whose losing out in the end by not paying attention.
No one will be able to stop you from doing what you want, but if you’re going to be an effective student and truly learn, you must practice self-discipline by taking all distraction off the table. Uninstall games from your phone, if that’s what it takes. Study hard and truthfully; you’re enrolled to learn, not to flop.
You should not only keep distractions away from you but put at least a strong effort into your studying also. You did not pay hundreds to thousands of dollars so that you could have something to listen to during the day – your online class is not a radio. You enrolled because you want to learn and gain new knowledge. Education requires self-discipline and hard work. If you don’t even try to apply yourself, then all you’re doing is wasting your time and money.
Continue to Study
When it comes to preparing for an online college class, students often overlook an essential part of the process: practicing what they’ve studied. Practicing might sound counterproductive when you first hear about it since it’s not new learning, but if you want to be successful in your course, you should start taking practice tests right from the beginning.
Online college courses, just like traditional classes, place heavy emphasis on test preparation. If your goal is to get into the upper percentile of students in your course, you must spend as much time as you can taking practice tests, and looking up tips and hints for perfecting each section. The more time you put into your practice, the more successful you’ll be in your tests.
Practicing and continuous learning will help you to get the most out of your class, and you’ll be able to learn everything you wanted to when you enrolled. It’s always best to leave college with new knowledge, not just your degree.
Develop a Routine
With online classes, a lot will change how you handle your schedule. There’ll be no school bell to inform you that you’re running late, and that the lesson is about to start. You have to keep track of it all on your own. Online classes require you to be very organized to get the most out of them. So, the first step is to develop a routine. Routines will help you to navigate your online learning experience with as much convenience as possible.
A routine includes making sure that you meet your commitments when it comes to studying, working on assignments and taking tests. When you’re trying to get good grades in school, you need to make sure that you’re allotting yourself enough time to study and to do your assignments.
Along with this, you should develop a routine for the whole day. Set yourself a time to wake up, do your usual morning routine such as eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, taking a quick shower, or maybe even doing some stretching since you’ll be sitting down in class for a while. Prioritize the time that you set aside to fully commit to studying, and don’t be distracted. Usually, people are most productive the moment they wake up, as their mind still hasn’t processed the need to frequently check their phones, worry about what to eat and the like. Find the time that works best for you and update your schedule accordingly. You could also benefit from additional study time, wherein you do your homework or study the course even deeper for better understanding.
If you have a day job then try to find a way to work around your hours, and fit your study-time somewhere into your schedule. However, since it’ll be more challenging, be prepared to give up a few hours of sleep to keep up to date.
When you’re taking online classes, there’ll be times when you no longer feel motivated, most especially when you become aware that you’re within the comfort of your own home. You may want to get things over with. and be able to watch your favorite TV series or play games. While it’s your choice to do this, they won’t help you in the long run.
You enrolled in an online class because you wanted to study and learn new things at your convenience. When you get too focused on how you’ll be spending your time after, it will only keep you from focusing on the content of your course. You might be hearing your professor speak, but you’re not fully absorbing what he’s saying.
Taking online classes can be challenging, and you need to be up for that challenge. Always try to push and motivate yourself into taking the coursework seriously. Just imagine how great it will feel to earn your degree after all the hard work you’ve put in.
You can keep yourself motivated by reminding yourself why you’re there in the first place: why you enrolled and how you want the course to benefit you. Surround yourself with a positive environment to help stay motivated. You could include your favorite motivational quote on your wallpaper, or write encouraging words on sticky notes and post them all around your wall – right above your computer screen, so that you’ll be able to look up, absorb the motivation and get back to studying.
Use Online Resources
The benefits to taking online courses are endless. Make sure you use technology to your advantage. There are many online resources to aid you with your course if you’re finding any aspect of it too challenging. You’ll find plenty of videos discussing the particular topic that you’re finding hard to understand. There are also free books online that discuss the lessons more thoroughly, if you feel like you need the heavy-duty material.
Take Notes by Hand
This method can be a little subjective, but studies have shown that when you write notes by hand, you’re more likely to store the information that you’ve written compared to when you type it up on your computer. But some people find it more convenient to type, and get frustrated with the physical movement of handwriting. While the process of typing may be faster, you’ll be absorbing a lot more when you’re writing your notes down by hand. Try to do both note-taking techniques for a time, and then decide which one works best for you. The optimal way is that which allows you to fully understand what you’ve written.
If you’ve chosen to write notes by hand, you can later transfer them into a digital file by typing them down when you have free time; this will force you to revise the information that you’ve written, which could develop a deeper understanding of the subject.
Just because you’re taking classes from your home, doesn’t mean that you can avoid active participation.
By getting involved in your class, you’ll not only be getting more points, but could become more involved and more interested in the lesson. This is because you’re putting yourself in the zone of wanting to study your chosen subject. Participating in the class is a great way to encourage yourself to do some extra studying.You can raise any concerns you have with your professor, such as anything that you might’ve misheard or misunderstood. With this, you’ll be able to understand the subject more and to perform better in your exams.
When you enroll in an online class, you don’t expect to study 24/7, and nobody at the college expects this of you. You’re entitled to take breaks; otherwise, you won’t even be able to store the information that you’ve received. If you study non-stop, you might not be absorbing the knowledge effectively, since you’re essentially just passing coursework onto the ‘covered’ pile without fully processing it.
Breaks from study allow your brain to rest for a little and to avoid stress. Stand up, walk around the room, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and go back to studying when you feel ready. Experts recommend that you should take at least a ten-minute break every hour, and a thirty-minute break every 3-4 hours.
Online learning might be completely foreign to you, and you’ll need some extra time to adapt to the new way of learning. While it can be challenging, allow yourself that time to adjust. You must have a study area, so that you can stay focused and avoid distractions. Finally, be kind to yourself; know that everyone experiences different phases when it comes to learning. Give yourself the proper time to absorb the study material and you’ll get through the exams just fine.