The new semester is upon us, the temperatures have dropped to near record lows (okay… maybe not but it is freezing cold out there!) and that means after a three week break, classes have resumed. For some of you, this will be the first time you are taking an online course. For others, some bad habits may have been created in past semesters and they need to be broken. At any rate, what makes a good online student?
A quick search reveals many websites and tips for success in the online classroom. Some are more relevant than others. Suggestions such as having the proper computer equipment seem like a no-brainer to someone registering for a completely online degree.
Debbie Morrison has created a five-step strategy that fits well with our Sports Administration program. Here is her advice:
Step 1) Read the syllabus.
Not only is the syllabus full of information about the course, including how to contract the instructor, and where to turn for computer or academic help, the syllabus also lists projects and due dates to help you plan your semester.
Step 2) Plan weekly study times.
Planning is crucial to online learning. If you sit down at 11:30 p.m. to complete an assignment due at 11:59 p.m., you are not going to do your best work. Setting aside blocks of time to watch the lectures/videos and complete the readings each week, before tackling the assignments, will make you a much stronger student.
Step 3) Log into the course a minimum of three times per week.
Course modules are released approximately every two weeks (check your syllabus for details), but Blackboard pages are continually updated with clarifications, and new information. The discussion board is a great place to check out if you have a question. Quite often another student will have had the same question and you might find it already answered there. You can even subscribe to the discussion board to receive an email with each new post.
Step 4) Ask questions.
There are barriers with online education. Instructors are not in front of you so you can ask them questions during class. Instead, you have to take the initiative to email or post a question. Instructors and peer mentors WANT you to ask questions. They are here to help you succeed.
Step 5) Make connections with fellow students.
This can be very challenging in an online environment. If you do not take a moment to interact with your fellow students, online learning can be very isolating. As humans it is natural to crave interaction with others. Thus, be an active participant in a discussion beyond the minimum required. Share a part of your life with your classmates. Answer a question for a student in need. You might just find that at the end of the class you have met some great people who will remain friends and colleagues for life.
Online learning is expanding throughout the education system. You are on the cutting edge with this new style of learning. Make the most of your experience and have a great time doing it.
Full text of Debbie’s article can be found here.
Here are a couple of other interesting articles with tips:
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Let’s have a great semester Warriors!