The option of taking classes online is becoming a popular alternative compared to more traditional classes for people who need a bit of flexibility to further their education, but who may also have to deal with a busy schedule. As always the purpose of furthering your education may be based on a number of situations. Perhaps you have decided to change career fields but lack to knowledge to do so. Perhaps you are looking to bolster your current resume, or are too busy to commit to a typical semester of classes. Furthering your education as a working adult may seem like a difficult task, however taking classes online makes juggling school work and work responsibilities much easier provided you are prepared.
Let’s say that at this point you have made the decision to attend classes online. Your major has been identified, classes have been scheduled, and course materials will be made available shortly. At this point there may be some confusion as to where to start. In this case one of the biggest keys to success while taking online classes is that you must be personally motivated to succeed. The second key is going to be making sure that you set and adhere to a set schedule for completing work or sitting in for a live chat with your instructor.
Personal motivation is paramount to success for many reasons. For most classes simply checking in once a week will count for attendance. Submitting quality work on time on the other hand is completely up to the individual. At the beginning of each week expect to have to complete at least two to three assignments per class. These are either in the form of forum posts to signify class participation, or writing assignments that are either completed as an individual or as a group. Getting this work completed as early as possible will benefit any student for a number of reasons. For example if there is a student error such as submitting the wrong attachment for an assignment or a technical issue with the student’s computer the issue can be identified and corrective action can be taken. Imagine the surprise or stress you would feel starting a group project at the last moment and finding out that the other members of the group had not completed their tasks. Waiting until the last moment may seem convenient until either of these situations come up and may lead to a pattern that is hard to correct.
Being able to avoid working from behind and becoming burnt out or overburdened with class work is relatively easy to avoid as long as a schedule is created and maintained. Most people may think of setting a schedule as simple as setting aside a few hours each day to study or to complete class assignments. While this is true, keep in mind that this schedule should allow for as much time as possible as opposed to the minimum amount of time needed to complete said work. Again, avoid the stress of working from behind or down to the wire by planning for anything that may come up to disrupt your schedule. Personal emergencies, last minute plans with friends, or any other event that could take place that cuts into the amount of time scheduled should be considered. It is much easier to complete the tasks needed for the given day or week by planning for enough time.
While it may seem that the previously stated steps are common sense I can say from personal experience that these pitfalls are hard to avoid. I am currently in my second attempt at completing a degree online due to the fact that the first attempt went south by not following these simple words of advice. Not only is this an embarrassing mistake to admit to it is an expensive one to have to repeat as well. Personal motivation and appropriate scheduling will help you avoid the necessary pitfalls, the rest is up to you.