Many nontraditional students choose to take courses online. This changes the college experience, but you have the advantage of fitting classes into your schedule. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you progress through your online studies.
- Become familiar with the college’s online platform. Before classes start, it’s important to understand the process for submitting assignments, watching lectures and using discussion groups. See if your college offers video tutorials or an online orientation course. Not every college uses the same platform, so if you plan on taking classes from more than one school, you may need to learn a variety of programs.
- Organization and discipline are key. Because you are not physically in the classroom, it is essential that you keep up to date with deadlines and exams. Make note of important due dates in a planner and schedule time each week to work through online lectures and assignments.
- You can’t afford to procrastinate. Computers have a bad habit of crashing just when you need them most. Don’t wait until the last minute to complete an assignment, otherwise you may miss a deadline while you don’t have access to a computer.
- Leave time for questions. Since you won’t have a regularly scheduled class time, make sure you leave enough time when completing your weekly assignments to email or call your professor with questions.
- A reliable, technically compatible computer is a necessity. Be sure that your computer has the programs necessary to view and complete online coursework and try to have a general understanding of how these programs work before the course begins.
- It takes more time than one might expect. Many classes require online discussion groups which can get lengthy, especially when you have to go back through old posts to find the information that you need. Some classes may only require that you check in a few times a week, but others need daily attention.