We make resolutions every year to tackle a variety of different issues–weight loss, improved health, better performance at work… Resolutions are made to help improve areas of difficulty or struggle. Online schooling requires a degree of discipline that can be difficult to maintain. So why not try making New Year’s resolutions for online success? Check out these ten resolutions for success in your online classroom:
1. I will live by the syllabus. The syllabus is your most important tool in an online course. Most teachers create a very detailed syllabus that outlines each assignment. The syllabus will help you stay on track and complete assignments on time. The biggest mistake online students make is to simply skim the syllabus and then forget about it.
2. I will embrace my strengths. Let’s face it–highlighting big chunks of text and committing them to memory is not for everyone. Think outside the box when it’s time to study. Are you a visual learner? Does music help you study? Consider your strengths when developing a study plan. You are much more likely to retain information if it is presented in a way that you enjoy. Try this quiz to determine your learning style and learn helpful tips about studying.
3. I will learn how to use online tools. Thoroughly read through the instructor’s list of classroom tools. Become familiar with each tool by going through it extensively and learning exactly how it works. Taking a little extra time to explore these elements can be a lifesaver. You will use many of the same core tools for different courses and you will become proficient in their use over time.
4. I will become a master of time management. Many online students find that time management is one of their biggest challenges. Online courses are a great choice for students with a very busy lifestyle–they may have children and a full-time career, leaving little time for attending a traditional bricks-and-mortar school. The opportunity to attend class from your own home is very convenient, but it also requires strict discipline. Developing a plan to manage your time (and sticking to it) is essential for success in online classes. You have to create schedules to help juggle your daily commitments and prepare for unexpected occurrences that will affect your class time. For example, if your assignments are always due on Sundays, and your children have loads of activities on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, you should plan to have assignments completed no later than Wednesday of each week. Download an app that allows access to your classroom discussions in case of emergencies that keep you away from your computer. Mobile access to your classroom can come in handy.
5. I will participate in discussion. Discussion questions and participation are often a large part of your final grade in an online course. Since you are not attending a class in person, your contributions to discussions are the only way an instructor can gauge your participation. Treat these discussions as important as assignments, and be sure to respond with thought-provoking messages–avoid quick replies such as “I agree” or “I disagree”.
6. I will be ambitious. Online learning is challenging, and requires patience, stamina, and ambition. You must stay motivated in order to be successful. The last thing you want to do after a long day at work is to sit in front of the computer screen again–this is a difficulty that many students face. It is important to think often about the outcome of your online learning. You may be working toward obtaining a degree so you can finally find a job you truly love. Your degree might mean more income to ease financial stress. Think about your long-term goals whenever you feel yourself losing motivation.
7. I will not be afraid to ask for help. Some people don’t like to ask for help. They see it as a sign of weakness, or they are afraid of looking unintelligent. You will have to ask for help when you are attending online school. You will need help both in your courses and at home–everyone does. There will be some assignments that you just don’t understand, and you can ask your instructor or classmates for help. There will be times when you need to ask a family member to step up and help you with something around the house so that you can meet a deadline for class. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak–it makes you smart.
8. I will learn effective online communication. Online communication is quite different from face-to-face communication, and most people don’t realize this until they take an online course. Face-to-face communication involves more than just spoken words. You are able to read body language and facial expressions, which are both quite helpful in understanding someone’s message. Online communication relies mostly on words (although in some cases emoticons are used). This is very important to remember, because people may not be able to pick up on things like sarcasm or playful tones. Your messages must be very clear and concise and always avoid ambiguous wording.
9. I will not overburden myself. Online courses often require even more time than a traditional college course, so it is important to start slowly. Try one or two courses when you begin online schooling, until you become accustomed to it. You may decide that you can handle more, but you’ll probably find that one or two courses at once fits in well with your schedule.
10. I will create a “study” spot for myself. Most people have a specific environment that enables concentration and fosters creativity. Create a specific “study” spot in your home. You may be able to better concentrate in a quiet atmosphere, or you may find too much quiet distracting. Consider your personal preferences, and find a spot that works best for you.
Attending school online is challenging, and it is often difficult to stay motivated and avoid stress. Online learning is also very rewarding, and skills learned online can be immediately applied to the real world. Please contact us for more information regarding online classroom success.