A Student of Online Success

Wondering what it takes to succeed in an online class environment? Here are some tips from my own experience and from others who have participated in online classes and lived to tell about it:

USE A CALENDAR – Seems obvious, right? Well it turns out that there are still a lot of people out there who do not use a calendar regularly to keep track of deadlines, class schedules, personal commitments, and professional obligations. Time management is a key component to success in most aspects of life, but it is absolutely critical when you are participating in an online class. While some people may use a calendar for some personal items, they often do not keep it up to date and forgot to include school deadlines and appointments. If you use a simple online calendar such as Google Calendar, check it every day and keep it current, you will find that deadlines and class assignments, as well as personal items will not be overlooked and you will feel a much stronger sense of control.

CHECK YOUR CLASS WEBSITE REGULARLY – managing yourself is almost as important as managing your time. It is very important to maintain your own “business hours” when you are taking an online course and even more critical when taking multiple classes. Schedule regular times to check in with each course site and decide what your goal is for that time: checking discussion threads, reviewing content and assignments, studying lectures or presentations, e-mails, or other types of course work. By affording a realistic amount of time and a regular schedule, you can plan ahead and set yourself up for success. Keeping yourself engaged in your course work is essential for success in any online class and you will come away from the experience with a much more complete understanding of the material if you invest quality time in it.

USE DESKTOP AND BROWSER FOLDERS – designate folders on your desktop and in your browser for files and downloads associated with your online course(s) and keep them up to date and easily accessible. It is very important to keep the contents current and refer to these files often. It is very important to keep items you are using regularly within view. “Out of sight, out of mind” is not the way to succeed in an online environment.

ASSESS YOUR ONLINE COMMUNICATION SKILLS – recognize your own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to communication skills in the virtual world. E-mails and instant messages can sometimes come out sounding different than intended – often for the worse. Be sure you can see what you mean and not just hear it in your own head. Consider how well you know the person or group you are communicating with and try to keep your words and your intended meaning as closely tied together as possible. Say what you mean, keep it simple and remember that much of our personal communication skills involve important elements that have nothing to do with word choice. Sarcasm and witty humor often do not translate well and emoticons are not a great choice for expression in an online college environment. Keep this in mind when sending AND receiving! Before jumping to conclusions or becoming emotional about a communication received from or directed to you in a discussion thread by a classmate or an instructor, consider the possibility that you may be reading more into it than is intended. Clarify and ask for clarification.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ryepubliclibrary
    Aug 23, 2012 @ 07:22:57

    Great response to the assignment, and I might just have to initiate some of these suggestions! -Lisa

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