It’s not hard to see that the COVID-19 virus pandemic has made it necessary for us all to make drastic changes in our daily lives. Businesses are moving to remote work. K-12 schools must embrace distance learning. Many college students who were previously enrolled on-campus now have unanticipated online learning.
While online learning carries many positive benefits that make it the preferred choice for millions of students, it doesn’t come without its challenges–especially for students who are more familiar with in-person courses.
These are seven tips by Jonathan Small – associate vice president for Online Learning at Regis College – that you can use in order to adjust your study habits when moving fully online.
Tips for Taking Online Courses
1. To understand the due dates for your assignment, look ahead.
Students who enroll in online courses usually interact with the subject matter through a learning management platform (LMS). Regis’ online classes use Moodle. Blackboard and Canvas are also popular.
Whatever LMS your course may use, it’s essential that you spend time getting to grips with the interface and specific assignments. To help you plan realistically for all your work, look at your schedule and note the due dates.
Small says, “In an online course, things are usually run in a modular format. You might not have the usual structure of a face-to-face class.” Small says that it is not common to have a physical reminder in an online class that homework is due. Online classes are full of activities, so students need to be organized.
2. Schedule time to study and work in small groups.
Regis students, like other universities, have many responsibilities and obligations. Your time is often consumed by childcare, work, family obligations, or internships. You need to create a schedule that meets all your needs.
Small says, “Chunking, or as I like to refer to it, gives students the ability to feel accomplished.” It makes you feel like you’re making progress. A schedule that is specifically dedicated to studying can help you create and keep a routine.
3. Group projects require regular communication.
Some college courses require you to complete assignments and group projects with other students. This is equally true for online courses and for in-person courses. Small notes that although in-person courses can facilitate group projects by bringing people together face-to-face, online students need to take extra care to ensure they communicate well.
To avoid confusion, communication must be prioritized by groups, whether via Zoom, email and phone calls, instant messages, shared documents, or other forms of communication.
Small suggests that you find a system that works best for all members of the group and to follow up regularly.
4. It is a good idea to divide work into groups early.
Similar to the above, groups should be able to clearly divide up tasks in such a way that everyone is accountable for their part and everyone understands their responsibilities.
Small suggests that “When you are working together on group projects, make sure you look ahead to ensure that you can distribute the work and coordinate your efforts.” “This way, everyone can make use of their free time to complete their tasks even if it isn’t due in a few weeks.”
5. Regularly touch base with your professor.
It’s important to communicate well with your classmates and fellow students, but it’s also important to communicate with professors or instructors. Be sure to communicate with your professor whether you have questions or are just trying to help.
Small says, “Talking to your instructor is one of the keys to success.” Don’t try to resolve your issues on your own. The professor will be there to assist you. It only takes five minutes to call your instructor and you can avoid stressing out for days. You’ll feel more relaxed, get clearer information, and will be more successful.
Do not think you can only communicate with your professor when things go wrong. Let your professor know when you are happy – whether it’s a valuable lesson or an appreciation for a fellow group member – this will help you to build a relationship.
6. Participate as many times as possible
Participation is vital to your success whether you are taking online courses or in-person classes. Active participation not only shows professors that you’re interested, but it also shows your willingness to learn and the effort required to be successful. Although education is often viewed as passive, participation transforms it into an active process.
Small says, “The more you are involved as a student, then the better you will get out of it.”
7. Flexibility is important.
Flexibility is a key component of online learning. This applies to you as well as your classmates, as well as your professors.
Small suggests that you remember that remote teaching was a process that took your instructors as much time as it took to transition into online education.
“This was not something that anyone planned. You can make the transition to campus smooth and enjoyable by showing empathy, participating in your classes, talking with your instructor and classmates, and being active in your coursework.
You Have to Put In the Work
Even though online learning may not be your first choice, of course, you can make the most of it by following the advice provided above. In order to succeed during difficult times, communication is key. Keep in touch with your classmates and instructors. Stay engaged in the course material.
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