So we’ve taken a look at what you can expect from your online course, but what about what the course expects from you? What exactly will be expected from you? Will you need to log hours, chain yourself to a computer, or is it more relaxed? Let’s take a look at some things you may need to do (and change about yourself) in order to be successful in your online courses.
Self-Discipline and Self-Motivation
These are two things you will need a lot of. Even in traditional educational settings you need these things by your side. “Why?” you ask? It’s because of classes, or rather, because you don’t have them. The thing is, because you’re studying from home or another location, you will not have scheduled classes every day, and so you will need to make time every day to sit down and work. You will need to stay on top of your work and ensure that you don’t get behind. The trick is to be consistent. Do something every day so that the workload doesn’t build up.
You need motivation because some days it is going to be very hard to force yourself to work. Your professor isn’t going to call you up and ask where you were that day, or threaten not to let you write exams because you didn’t attend enough classes. You have to decide to work and do it. Your motivation should be to obtain your degree. If you thought it necessary to obtain one in the first place, you need to tell yourself that you need it so you have to work for it; no pain, no gain.
Commitment: Are You Ready For It?
You have to be committed to learning. This is true for any type of course or learning you do. However, because you have to make the time and effort to study and complete work, you need to be committed to learning and finishing the course. You need to make an effort to complete the course actually knowing something. This takes commitment.
Responsibility: With It Comes Great Power…?
Studying, learning, and doing your work is all your responsibility. It isn’t anyone else’s place to do your work. It’s up to you, not your parents, spouse, friends, and not your instructor. It’s yours and you need to stand up to it. Part of this responsibility is to make sure that your fees are paid, and that your finances are in order. They aren’t going to pay themselves so you need to acquire funding to ensure that you are allowed to continue the course.
Another responsibility is to make sure that you order your books in time. Try ordering them through the institution’s bookstore to ensure that you get the right editions. Also be sure to order your books as soon as you know which courses you’re taking; you don’t want to sit without them two weeks before exams!
Besides ordering your books, you need to make sure that you have everything else you need. You need to have access to a computer and the internet. You will also need paper and pens to make notes, and maybe highlighters to mark important parts in your books. Get these things together before starting. For those that prefer taking notes on their desktop or tablet, make sure you’ve identified the appropriate note-taking apps ahead of time. Evernote is a great app, and Google Drive has a number of applications that can suit your needs.
Tech Skills: “I Am Iron Man”
A vital part of online learning is actually being able to use the online systems allocated by your school. You need the tech skills to search and use the Internet, and you have to have a Web browser that is compatible with your course’s learning management system (LMS). Try familiarize yourself with the LMS so that you don’t miss anything important and figure it out too late.
You need to make sure that you can use basic software like MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You need to be able to save these files and upload them to the LMS. You also have to be able to download files (from the LMS and the Internet) and save them to your computer.
These are basic things you HAVE to be able to do in order to pass your course. You may not know how to in the beginning, but you will learn, just try, and ask for help.
About the Author
Kamy Anderson is an eLearning advocate who has a passion for writing on innovative and emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He has years of experience working with eLearning authoring tools and learning management systems and is an expert when it comes to developing and implementing LMS best practices. With his background in learning pedagogy, Kamy is an ed-tech enthusiast who likes nothing better than to explore and write on technology and learning trends.