Great for those balancing work and family commitments, online classes are an ideal way to give your career a boost. However, if you’re a first-time online learner—or are considering online education—online classes may seem intimidating, especially if you’re not technologically savvy. But there’s nothing to fear. With the right preparation—and the know-how to take advantage of the many resources and technologies online universities have to offer—success can be yours.
Toward that end, we’ve come up with five tips to help you succeed in online classes, from getting to know your operating system to opening your mind.
Tip 1: Get to know the (online) system.
From your syllabus to online class discussions, your chosen online college will likely use one online classroom environment for most daily tasks. Even if you don’t consider yourself technologically inclined, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can become accustomed to the online learning environment. Take time to get to know your online university’s operating system before your classes begin. You’ll find that the more familiar you are with your university’s operating system, the more prepared you’ll be to excel in your online classes.
Tip 2: Log in often.
Exams. Quizzes. Papers. Discussions. There’s a lot going on in online classes. That’s why it’s important for you to log in often to keep up with what’s going on in each online class. Active discussions mean your classmates will be commenting on your posts, and you’ll want to comment on theirs as well. If you’re not logging in every day—twice a day, at a minimum—you may miss feedback from faculty, posted grades, announcements, and much more. Online vs. traditional education means you have to check in more frequently, a small price to pay for the convenience of online education.
Tip 3: Take advantage of resources.
Like brick-and-mortar institutions, online colleges offer a variety of resources to help students succeed. Need help choosing online classes? Advisors are ready to assist you in selecting the right courses for your chosen program of study. Having trouble writing a research paper or with your statistics assignment? Online universities offer assistance with writing, math, and much more, just as traditional, campus-based institutions do. The only difference? You don’t have to leave your chair to take advantage of them.
Tip 4: Make the most of new technology.
Online colleges are renowned for employing the latest educational technologies to help students succeed. From mobile learning apps to new ways to interact in real time with instructors and classmates, be sure to explore your university’s latest technologies. If you’re intimidated, don’t be. The beauty of online education is that there’s always technical support readily accessible by phone, e-mail, or live chat.
Tip 5: Be open.
When it comes to online vs. traditional education, an open mind is key. Online education isn’t classroom-based education—and it’s not supposed to be. Embrace the differences, participate in discussions, ask questions, reach out to classmates and instructors, and let your personality shine. You’ll soon discover that you’ve signed up for more than online classes. You’ve signed up to be part of a community of learning.