Your success in online learning depends entirely on you. Instructors and resources are readily available, but it is your responsibility to make the best of the experience. No pressure, right? Following simple yet effective time management and organizational habits will greatly improve your higher education experience, online or otherwise.
Enter your program gradually so you can feel out what fits into your life and once you are comfortable, maintain that balance with some helpful tips from your academic advisor. You’ll notice that a lot of the recommendations overlap, which must mean we’re onto something worthwhile!
- Keep an agenda.
In the online setting, tangible reminders of assignments are hard to come by. We don’t walk or drive to class and we don’t see our professors writing notes on the board. While this saves time spent getting ready and money for transportation costs, distance education is a tougher setting to physically connect with. Your campus, classmates, and often course materials are on the screen in front of you. A simple way to help bridge the distance is with an agenda that holds all the pertinent information you will need to succeed. Getting into the habit of physically writing down assignments and notes helps cement the information. Even writing down what habits work for you in an agenda will be that one extra thought to motivate you to keep up the good work.
- Take advantage of the setting.
An online classroom holds a much more diverse population than you’d find in a traditional classroom. Online learners are often pursuing their education virtually to best accommodate busy lives and careers. Use the flexibility of the online environment to your advantage. The syllabus and assignments are available to you as soon as the class opens; plot out the course by prioritizing assignments, breaking down your schedule, submitting work ahead of schedule if you have time and know you won’t later, and utilizing online resources. Online advisors and instructors are aware of their unique student population so don’t hesitate to contact them for help navigating through unexpected hurdles that interfere with your academic plan.
- Utilize resources.
Taking courses online includes assignments and instructors; however it also comes with a wealth of resources. Most institutions have extensive online libraries, tutoring services, student and alumni centers, and much more. Too often students run into last minute, high stress situations and only then contact the necessary outlets. If you familiarize yourself with the campus and resources preemptively, you will be better off when problems arise. Browsing library resources can especially benefit your coursework because there is always an article or database with new information that may be relevant to a paper or project you could be working on.
Being an involved, self-motivated student requires hard work. Subscribing to quality work and time management habits will make it easy and the proof will be found in a high GPA and in seamless academic progress. Your online university is created to allow for a quality, flexible higher education experience so do yourself a favor and tap into all the wonderful resources out there!
By Emily Ludeman
Academic Advisor at American Public University