Some Guidelines for Success as an Online Learner

Some ideas to help you succeed with your online classwork.

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Parents and students have many questions and concerns about online learning. Getting a good education means a lot to parents and students everywhere, so we have collected eleven of the best guidelines for success as an online learner for you to consider. These thoughts come from various schools and the students themselves.

Note: Because these suggestions were originally written for college students, some have been slightly edited so that they relate to your situations. The advice equally applies to students at your level as it does to college students.

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Northeastern University - Tips for Taking Online Classes

The tips and advice below can help you address the unique challenges of online learning so you can get the most value out of your online classes.

1. Treat your online course like a “real” course.

When it comes to online classes, you need to have the discipline to sit down and say, “I am going to work on this,” as well as the dedication to actually follow through. Though you can be flexible as to when you choose to complete your work during the week, you can’t put it off indefinitely.

One of the easiest ways to ensure follow through is to remember that you r parents are paying for you to take this online course, just as they would for a traditional, in-person class. You must “show up” if you’re going to get real value out of your class. Treat your online classes the same way you would a face-to-face class—or, better yet, a job—and you’ll be off to the right start.

2. Hold yourself accountable

Set goals at the beginning of the semester, and check in with yourself weekly. In a traditional classroom setting, you’ll often receive verbal or visual reminders of an assignment’s upcoming due date. But without a teacher actively reminding you, it’s up to you to make sure you’ve allotted enough time to complete the work so you’re not starting an assignment the day before it’s due.

If you’re having trouble holding yourself responsible, pair up with a fellow classmate, or enlist the help of your parent or a friend to check in as an accountability partner. By being organized, proactive, and self-aware, you can get the most from your online class even when life outside of school becomes chaotic.

3. Practice time management.

The flexibility to create your own schedule is often seen as a great benefit when taking online classes. But that freedom can also be detrimental if you do not have solid time management skills. Without them, you might easily to find yourself cramming before classes or handing in subpar assignments.

Though how you manage your time will depend on your schedule, learning style, and personality, here are some universally valuable tips to help you practice and improve your time management skills:

  • Look at each class syllabus at the start of the semester and make note of major assignments. Mark them on a calendar you check regularly so you know what workload is coming in the weeks ahead. Don’t forget to factor in prior commitments that may interfere with your regular study schedule, such as vacations, so you can give yourself enough extra time to complete assignments.

  • Create a weekly schedule that you follow, designating certain hours each week to reading, online meetings, watching lectures online, completing assignments, studying, and participating in forums. Commit to making your online coursework part of your weekly routine, and set reminders for yourself to complete these tasks.

  • When working on your assignments, try time-blocking, allotting yourself a certain amount of time for each task before moving on to the next one and setting a timer to keep you accountable.

  • Check in periodically throughout the term, and look at how you’re spending your time. Ask yourself: How much time am I dedicating to course reading and assignments? Am I regularly underestimating the time it’s taking me to get things done, forcing me to cram the nights before the exams? A little self-reflection and adjustment can go a long way.

4. Create a regular study space and stay organized.

Set up a dedicated learning environment for studying. By completing your work there repeatedly, you’ll begin to establish a routine. Whether your workspace is your kitchen table or your bedroom, it’s important to determine what type of environment will work best for you. Experiment to discover which type of setting boosts your productivity. Wherever you choose, make sure there’s high-speed internet access so you’re not trying to take your online courses over a lagging Internet connection.

Setting up a regular workspace will also help you to stay organized. Knowing exactly where important dates, files, forms, syllabi, books, and assignments live will help keep you on track towards hitting your goals. When setting up your study space, make sure you:

  • Have a high-speed Internet connection

  • Have the required books, materials, and software for your courses

  • Have headphones for listening to lectures or discussions (especially important in shared spaces)

5. Eliminate distractions.

From Netflix to social media to chores you have to do, you’ll be faced with many distractions that can easily derail your studies. The best online students know how to lessen these distractions and set aside time to focus.

Exactly how much of a challenge these distractions will prove to be will depend on your own unique personality and situation. Some might find that they can tune out a noisy home by listening to music. Others might choose to work from a location outside the home to eliminate their urge to multitask at home. Ultimately, you will need to find a strategy that works best for you.

Regardless of where you choose to work, consider turning your cell phone off to avoid losing focus every time a text message or notification pops up. And if you’re still having trouble resisting the temptation to check your email or surf the web, try downloading a website blocker. Using applications like Cold Turkey and Freedom can help eliminate distractions by blocking the apps or websites that tend to compete for your attention, such as Facebook and Twitter.

6. Figure Out How You Learn Best

Once you’ve established where you’ll learn, think about when and how you accomplish your best work. If you’re a morning person, make time to study first thing. More of a night owl? Set aside an hour or two after dinner to cozy up to your computer. If your chores require your morning and evening attention, try to carve out a study session mid-day. Have something to eat and/or drink, put on your go-to music playlist, and do whatever you need to get into the zone and down to business.

Not everyone learns the same way, so think about what types of information help you best grasp new concepts and employ relevant study strategies. If you’re a visual learner, for example, use all the downloaded printed material from your classes to review. Learn best by listening? Make sure to build time into your schedule to play and replay all your audio- and video-based course content.

7. Actively participate.

Participate in your courses online forums to help you better understand the course materials and also engage with fellow classmates. This might involve commenting on a classmate’s paper on a discussion board or posting a question about a project you’re working on. Read what other students and your professor are saying, and if you have a question, ask for clarification.

Make sure you are checking in as often as you can, too. The flexibility of online learning means that if you have 30 minutes before dinner plans, you could squeeze in a discussion response around your schedule. Set a goal to check in on the class discussion threads every day.

And if you do feel yourself falling behind, speak up. Don’t wait until an assignment is almost due to ask questions or report issues. Email your teacher and be proactive in asking for help.

8. Leverage your network.

Online classes may sometimes make you feel like you are learning on your own, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many online courses are built around the concept of collaboration, with teachers and instructors actively encouraging that students work together to complete assignments and discuss lessons.

Build relationships with other students by introducing yourself and engaging in online discussion boards. Your peers can be a valuable resource when preparing for exams or asking for feedback on assignments. Don’t be afraid to turn to them to create a virtual study group. Chances are good that they will appreciate it just as much as you will.

Practice Makes Perfect

Online classes are an excellent option to help you get the education you will need to fulfill your goals. Though learning online comes with its own unique challenges, following the advice above can help you be successful even in the most chaotic of times.

Source: https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/tips-for-taking-online-classes/

Minnesota State University - What Makes a Successful Online Learner?

Two key advantages of online learning are flexibility and convenience. But for some, online learning can be a lot more challenging than it may seem.

But you start taking your classes online, make sure you're ready to succeed. Online learning can sound so wonderful that some students start with an unrealistic vision. In reality, online courses require just as much, if not more, time and energy as traditional classroom courses. It also requires specific computer skills and learning strategies in order to succeed.

To see if you're ready, see how many items of the following skills you have:

1. Persistence

Persistence is perhaps the biggest key to success in online learning. The students who succeed are those who are willing to tolerate technical problems, seek help when needed, work daily on every class, and persist through challenges.

  • When you run into a challenge, keep trying and ask for help.

  • Set up a manageable study schedule for yourself and stick to it. Students who succeed are those who log in and make progress every day. This is especially important after the novelty of going to school online starts to wear off!

2. Effective Time-Management Skills

You must be able to manage your time well. Some courses you will take later in college are not taught in real time. There are no set times for those classes.

This flexibility is one of the great benefits of online learning. It can also be a drawback for a student who procrastinates, is unable to stick to a routine study schedule, or is not able to complete assignments without daily reminders from a teacher.

Effective time-management skills don't just happen. They have to be learned. Once you do, they will benefit you throughout your life. Follow the tips below to develop yours:

  • Review the syllabus for each of your courses. Develop a long-term plan (in writing) for completing your major assignments.

  • Make a daily "To Do" list. Have fun checking things off the list as you complete them.

It takes time to develop good habits, but you'll gain satisfaction from being well-organized and accomplishing your tasks.

3. Effective and Appropriate Communication Skills

Communication skills are vital in online learning because students must seek help when they need it. Teachers are willing to help students, but they are unable to pick up on non-verbal cues, such as a look of confusion on a student's face. Follow these tips:

  • Use the tools provided by the school to communicate with your teachers. There are several ways for students and/or parents to communicate with teachers and staff. These might include e-mail, discussion groups, chat rooms, cell phones, and even text messaging. Teachers and staff want to help you to succeed in your classes and will answer your questions. It may feel awkward to talk with your teachers this way, but don't worry. If your teacher has scheduled chat room or cell phone office times they will be available, don't be shy about using those tools to communicate with your teacher.

  • Use appropriate style and language for school. When communicating with teachers and other staff, you should write in full, grammatically correct sentences and with a respectful tone. Many students are used to a very informal style of writing in chat rooms, blogs, text messages, and so forth.

Because of the distance, it's tempting for some students to say things out of anger or frustration that they would never say to a teacher in person. Online teachers are professionals. Treat them with respect and courtesy.

4. Basic Technical Skills

Online learners need basic technical skills to succeed. These include the ability to create new documents, use a word processing program, navigate the Internet, and download software.

The school has new student orientation programs. These teach students how to use the school's learning management system and other online tools, but they typically don't cover the basics.

If you lack basic computer skills, you may want to find an online tutorial such as the one available through The Library Network.

You'll also want to check the online school's main website for their hardware and software requirements. Make sure your own computer meets those requirements.

5. Reading and Writing Skills

Reading and writing are the main ways you'll communicate in an online class. Although some hard copies of textbooks might be required, you should be comfortable reading a lot of documents on a computer screen and able to type.

Some tests and quizzes have multiple choice questions, but many of your assignments will involve writing short or long answers.

If you type less than 25-30 words per minute, it may be worth completing a typing software program before beginning your online classes.

6. Motivation and Independence

To be successful, an online student has to want to succeed. Online learning requires independence, internal motivation, responsibility, and a certain level of maturity.

Have you given some thought to your own personal reasons for attending school?

Are you determined and self-motivated to succeed in school?

There are many worthwhile reasons to work hard in school. You might want a greater level of personal satisfaction with your future career. Or perhaps it's personal pride in your accomplishments. Or maybe you are seeking a wider range of opportunities available to you with a higher education or a higher income.

7. A Good Study Environment

Another critical component of academic success is a good study environment.

  • Get some peace and quiet. You will need a quiet place to work without distractions from things like television, family, or friends.

  • Avoid games. Consider uninstalling any computer games to avoid temptation. Or keep the games on a different computer in the house.

  • Turn off your cell phone. Let friends and family members know the hours that you will be "at" school.

  • Beware surfing the black hole of the Internet. It is easy to lose track of the time as you wander from site to site.

  • Consider ergonomics. Adjust the height of your chair, keyboard, and screen so that you are comfortable. Forearms and thighs should be level and parallel to the floor. Wrists should not be bent while typing.

  • Set up good lighting and comfortable seating. Lighting in the room should be at least as bright as the computer screen to avoid eye strain.

Source: https://careerwise.minnstate.edu/education/successonline.html

University of Illinois - What Makes a Successful Online Student?

More and more young, and older, people are becoming aware of the online learning model. The traditional school will never go away, but the virtual classroom is a significant player in today’s educational community. You will find that corporations are using the online model to train technical professionals while private and public universities redefine the world as their markets. The market for students is expanding rapidly. People want to learn. In general, the online student should possess the following qualities:

  1. Be open minded about sharing life, work, and educational experiences as part of the learning process.
    Introverts as well as extroverts find that the online process requires them to utilize their experiences. This forum for communication eliminates the visual barriers that hinder some individuals in expressing themselves. In addition, the student is given time to reflect on the information before responding. The online environment should be open and friendly.

  2. Be able to communicate through writing.
    In the Virtual Classroom, nearly all communication is written, so it is critical that students feel comfortable in expressing themselves in writing. Many students have limited writing abilities, which should be addressed before or as part of the online experience. This may require remedial efforts on the part of the student.

  3. Be Self-motivated and self-disciplined.
    With the freedom and flexibility of the online environment comes responsibility. The online process takes a real commitment and discipline to keep up with the flow of the process.

  4. Be willing to “speak up” if problems arise.
    Many of the non-verbal communication mechanisms that instructors use in determining whether students are having problems (confusion, frustration, boredom, absence, etc.) are not possible in the online paradigm. If a student is experiencing difficulty on any level (either with the technology or with the course content), they must communicate this immediately. Otherwise the instructor will never know what is wrong.

  5. Be willing and able to commit to 4 to 15 hours per week per course.
    Online is not easier than the traditional educational process. In fact, many students will say it requires much more time and commitment.

  6. Be able to meet the minimum requirements for the program.
    The requirements for online learning are no less than that of any other quality educational program. The successful student will view online as a convenient way to receive their education – not an easier way.

  7. Accept critical thinking and decision making as part of the learning process.
    The learning process requires the student to make decisions based on facts as well as experience. Assimilating information and executing the right decisions requires critical thought; case analysis does this very effectively.

  8. Have practically unlimited access to a computer and Internet Service.
    The course content and interaction are engaged by computer through the Internet. Some content and activities may be accessible by “dial-up” or mobile services, but most online learning will be best accomplished with broadband service. The student must have access to the necessary equipment.

  9. Be able to think ideas through before responding.
    Meaningful and quality input into the virtual classroom is an essential part of the learning process. Time is given in the process to allow for the careful consideration of responses. The testing and challenging of ideas is encouraged: you will not always be right, just be prepared to accept a challenge.

  10. Feel that high quality learning can take place without going to a traditional classroom.
    If the student feels that a traditional classroom is a prerequisite to learning, they may be more comfortable in the traditional classroom. Online is not for everybody. A student that wants to be on a traditional campus attending a traditional classroom is probably not going to be happy doing all their course work online. While the level of social interaction can be very high in the virtual classroom given that many barriers come down in the online format, it is not the same as attending school. This should be made known. An online student is expected to:

    • Participate in the virtual classroom 5-7 days a week

    • Be able to work with others in completing projects

    • Be able to use the technology properly

    • Be able to meet the minimum standards as set forth by the institution

    • Be able to complete assignments on time

    • Enjoy communicating in writing.

The online learning process is normally accelerated and requires commitment on the student’s part. Staying up with the class and completing all work on time is vital. Once a student gets behind, it is almost impossible to catch up. Basically, the student needs to want to be there, and needs to want the experience. The instructor may have to contact students personally to offer assistance and remind the student of the need to keep up.

Source: https://www.uis.edu/ion/resources/tutorials/pedagogy/successful-online-student/

Texas State University -Guidelines for Success as an Online Learner

Time Commitment

Online courses are typically just as time intensive as traditional courses. In fact, many students claim that online courses require more time and commitment. As you begin your courses, you would be wise to schedule at least 8 or more hours per week for studying materials and completing assignments.

Falling behind your course studies is particularly problematic because the concepts covered are cumulative. This means that not becoming proficient with information and objectives presented and assessed in a particular week can lead to low scores for that week as well as in subsequent weeks.

Active Participation

Online courses require your active participation. Here are some tips for success:

  • In discussion forums, you learn from one another by posing questions, justifying your comments, and providing multiple perspectives. When you prepare for discussions through thoughtful reflection, you contribute to your own successful learning experience as well as to the experience of your peers.

  • Log in to the course frequently (at least several times per week) and check the announcements in Renweb and Google Classroom. This will keep you apprised of any course updates, progress in discussions, assignment information, and messages requiring immediate attention.

  • Be aware of and keep up with the course schedule in the syllabus.

  • Participate in team activities to the best of your ability. How well your team does—and how well you do—depends on all the team members working cooperatively.

Student Feedback

One of the best ways to find out how to improve a course is to ask you, the student, for feedback. Toward this end, you may be asked to fill out a survey that asks about your reactions to the course content and features and invites your suggestions for improving the course. In addition, be sure to report any problems you encounter with the course (including everything from unclear material to spelling errors).


Source: https://isdcourseinfo.its.txstate.edu/Important-Policies-Procedures.html#Minimum%20Technical%20Skills

Northeastern University - How to Be a Successful Online Learner: 9 Tips and Strategies

Online learning offer many unique benefits to learners, including a high degree of flexibility. Online courses allow you to learn whenever, wherever, and however works best for you, making it easier to earn a degree while balancing work and family commitments. And without having to attend classes in person, online learning affords you access to top degree programs across the country that might have otherwise been inaccessible or highly inconvenient.

Are Online Classes Easier?

It’s a misconception, that online degrees are easier than their on-campus counterparts. An online program demands the same focus and motivation as is required in a traditional classroom setting. Factor in additional distractions that online students encounter—such as children in the home while taking classes—and the workload can easily feel more challenging.

Online courses present challenges if you’re not prepared. But, if you develop skills for effective online learning, you’ll find the courses can be an excellent alternative to a traditional classroom setting. Here are some tips for online learning success to make sure you get the most value out of your next class.

9 Online Learning Strategies for Success

1. Get Organized

Before the semester begins, ensure you have the technical capability to access the required course materials, including e-books, online tools, and course websites. Take the time to practice navigating the online system so you’ll be prepared for your first class. This way you can focus on learning instead of struggling to log in five minutes into the lecture. Also, just as you would in a physical classroom, make sure you have materials on hand to take reliable notes. Keeping a record of your work throughout the semester will come in handy during final exams.

2. Set Up Your Workspace

Set up a dedicated learning environment for studying. By completing your work there repeatedly, you’ll begin to establish a routine. Not all students are alike—some work best listening to music, while others need peace and quiet. Experiment to discover which type of setting boosts your productivity. Whether your workspace is your kitchen table or the corner booth in a local coffee shop, just make sure you have a strong internet connection to access your coursework.

When choosing a workspace, try to limit distractions as much as possible, both physically and online. If you’re at home, resist the urge to turn on the television or finish that last load of laundry. Online, use apps like Freedom or ColdTurkey to limit interruptions and block social media sites that might compete for your attention during lectures.

3. Figure Out How You Learn Best

Once you’ve established where you’ll learn, think about when and how you accomplish your best work. If you’re a morning person, make time to study first thing. More of a night owl? Set aside an hour or two after dinner to cozy up to your computer. If the kids require your morning and evening attention, try to carve out a study session mid-day while they’re at school. Brew your usual cup of coffee, put on your go-to playlist, and do whatever you need to get into the zone and down to business.

Not everyone learns the same way, so think about what types of information help you best grasp new concepts and employ relevant study strategies. If you’re a visual learner, for example, print out transcripts of the video lectures to review. Learn best by listening? Make sure to build time into your schedule to play and replay all audio- and video-based course content.

4. Make A Schedule

Without a professor regularly checking in, it’s important to leverage your time management skills. Glance over the syllabus before your first day of class and make note of major assignments. Mark them on a calendar you check regularly so you know what workload is coming in the weeks ahead. Don’t forget to factor in prior commitments that may interfere with your regular study schedule, such as weddings or vacations, so you can give yourself enough extra time to complete assignments.

Commit to making your online coursework part of your weekly routine. Break up your workload into chunks by dedicating certain hours each week to reading, watching lectures, writing assignments, studying, and participating in forums. Then, set reminders for yourself to complete the tasks. Treat these blocks of time as seriously as you would a face-to-face lesson by showing up, letting others know you are unavailable during those times, and consistently using your designated workspace. Set a timer and give yourself permission to move on to other tasks once the time is up.

5. Be an Active Participant

Take initiative by reading materials, reaching out to classmates and instructors, and conducting additional research as needed. Productive online learners focus on acquiring and utilizing feedback for future coursework. Students who take time to engage with their instructors and classmates also tend to have the most success in their classes.

6. Stay Connected

Just because you aren’t physically in the same location, doesn’t mean you can’t get to know your fellow classmates. Build relationships with other students by introducing yourself and engaging in online discussion boards. Make an effort to ask and answer questions to enhance your understanding of the course material and build a bond with other students. Your peers can be a valuable resource when preparing for exams or asking for feedback on assignments. Make connections with the other students in your online classroom and you’ll have a built-in study group at your fingertips.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your instructor to introduce yourself or ask questions, either. They are eager to engage one-on-one with their students, whether online or in person. And, if you do fall behind, speak up. Don’t wait until an assignment is almost due to ask questions or report issues. Email your professor and be proactive in asking for help.

7. Have an Open Mind

Some online learners feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions virtually than in the classroom. Online learning provides students with the time they need to actively reflect and organize their thoughts before answering a question or making a comment. Having an open mind helps students interact with the material—and fosters a more engaged and open community.

8. Ask Questions

The best online learners don’t hesitate to ask questions. They aren’t afraid to request clarification or guidance from other students and instructors. By doing this, they avoid confusion, become more engaged with the content, broaden their knowledge, and deepen relationships with their classmates. Posting to a group forum also allows online learners to ask questions other students may have. Professors encourage this type of interaction and value the community it builds.

9. Hold Yourself Accountable

Set goals at the beginning of the semester and check in with yourself weekly. In a traditional classroom setting, you’ll often receive verbal or visual reminders of an assignment’s upcoming due date. But without a professor actively reminding you, it’s up to you to make sure you’ve allotted enough time to complete the work so you’re not starting an assignment the day before it’s due. If you’re having trouble holding yourself responsible, pair up with a fellow classmate, or enlist the help of a spouse or friend to check in as an accountability partner. By being organized, proactive, and self-aware, you can get the most from your online class even when life outside of school becomes chaotic.

Setting Yourself Up For Success

Earning an online degree is a great opportunity to impress future employers and advance your career in a way that works for you. Adjusting to the nuances of distance learning, however, can take some getting used to. Use the nine tips and strategies above to become a successful online learner and take your skills to the next level.

Source: https://www.northeastern.edu/bachelors-completion/news/successful-online-learning-strategies/

Mt. Hood Community College - What Makes a Successful Online Learner

Are you taking online courses?

That's excellent! But first, make sure you are ready. It is very common for students to have an unrealistic vision of what will be required to be successful.

In many ways, learning online is similar to learning in the classroom. Your instructor will provide quality readings, exercises, assignments, discussions and quizzes. However, as with regular classes, what you get out of it is related to how much you put into it. Expect to spend the same amount of time and energy or more in an online class compared to on-campus classes.

Attendance and Participation:

Your instructor will assess your attendance and participation in an online class in the same way they do in a face-to-face course; you need to be present on a regular basis, you need to contribute frequently, and your contributions should add substance to class interactions. You are expected to participate in online course activities on a regular basis, which means it is not an option to wait until the end of a term before completing online activities. It is up to you to decide which days, and what time of day you would like to dedicate to your course work, just be sure to check the course calendar for quiz dates and assignment deadlines. Effective online students will participate in some form of online activity several times a week.

Time Management:

Flexibility and convenience are two of the great benefits of online learning, however students have to have discipline enough to make time to study, complete coursework, and participate in discussions and groups. Learners need to plan to commit 6 – 9 hours per week per three-credit class. If you tend to procrastinate, have trouble sticking to a routine study schedule or need reminders for completing assignments, you may want to consider taking on-campus courses.

Motivation:

To be successful, an online student has to want to succeed. Online learning requires independence, internal motivation, and responsibility.

Effective Learning Styles:

  • Online learning is best for those who learn by reading and writing; if you learn better by hearing lectures or making presentations, an on-campus class might be a better fit.

  • Enjoy communicating in writing and reading the writing of others

  • Be able to work with others via email and chat to complete projects

  • “Speak up” to their instructors when problems arise

Basic Technical Skills:

Online learners need basic technical skills to succeed. These include the ability to create new documents, use a word processing program, file organization, navigate the Internet, use multiple browsers, and download software.

A Good Study Environment:

Another critical component of academic success is a good study environment.

  • Get some peace and quiet. You will need a quiet place to work without distractions from things like television, family, or roommates.

  • Avoid games. Consider uninstalling any computer games to avoid temptation. Or keep the games on a different computer in the house.

  • Turn off your cell phone. Let friends and family members know the hours that you will be "at" school.

  • Beware of Internet surfing It is easy to lose track of the time as you wander from site to site.

  • Consider ergonomics. Adjust the height of your chair, keyboard, and screen so that you are comfortable. Forearms and thighs should be level and parallel to the floor. Wrists should not be bent while typing.

  • Set up good lighting and comfortable seating.

Reading and Writing Skills:

Reading and writing are the main ways you'll communicate in an online class. Although some hard copies of textbooks might be required, you should be comfortable reading a lot of documents on a computer screen.

Some tests and quizzes have multiple choice questions, but many of your assignments will involve writing short or long answers.

If you feel your reading and writing skills are not strong, try taking a course first to prepare you for online learning.

Communication:

Communication skills are vital in online learning because students must seek help when they need it. Teachers are willing to help students, but they are unable to pick up on non-verbal cues, such as a look of confusion on a student's face. Follow these tips:

  • Use the tools provided by the school to communicate with your teachers. Many online schools and programs provide several ways for students to communicate with teachers and staff. These might include e-mail, discussion groups, chat room office hours, cell phones, and even text messaging. Teachers and staff want to help you to succeed in your classes and will answer your questions. It may feel awkward to talk with your teachers this way, but don't worry. If your teacher has chat room or cell phone office hours, don't be shy about using those tools to communicate.

  • Use appropriate style and language for school. When communicating with teachers and other students, you should write in full, grammatically correct sentences and have correct spelling. Many students are used to a very informal style of writing in chat rooms, blogs, text messages, and so forth.

  • Consider how your communication “sounds” to others. Remember they cannot hear the infliction in your voice or see your expression. Show others the same amount of respect you want from them.

Tests:

Some online classes require proctored exams that must be completed at a specific location. Proctored exams can occur on campus or at an approved testing location near you.

Successful Students:

  • Log in regularly to their classes usually a minimum of three times per week

  • Have good time management skills

  • Plan to ensure enough time to study and complete assignments

  • Commit 6 – 9 hours per week per three-credit class

  • Log in and make progress each day

  • Persists through challenges

  • Take notes as they study

  • Have basic computer skills

  • Know how to use technology properly

  • Read and write well.

  • Have excellent communication skills

  • Seek help when needed. Online learning students need to be assertive in order to make their needs known.

  • Have solid research skills, including how to effectively use the Internet.

  • Have the ability to work well cooperatively, even when your communication is restricted to email or online

  • Are active learners who are willing to take responsibility for their own learning

  • Are visual learners able to learn easily from reading and writing online. If you learn best by hearing the instructor, you may want to consider an on-campus class.

Source: https://www.mhcc.edu/SuccessfulOnlineLearner/

University of Vermont - 10 Tips for Success as an Online Student

Online education offers many benefits, including the flexibility to complete projects on your own time, while maintaining academic rigor and high expectations of students. However, it’s a myth that online classes are easier than traditional classroom-based classes. Online students need to prioritize and meet deadlines in order to thrive in an online learning environment.

10 Tips for a Successful Online Learning Experience:

  1. Be open minded about sharing life, work, and educational experiences as part of the learning process: Your personal and professional experiences matter in an online environment. Introverts and extroverts find that taking an online course requires them to utilize their experience. Participating in an online course eliminates the visual barriers that might prevent some individuals from expressing themselves.

  2. Be able to communicate through writing: In an online class, nearly all communication is written, so it’s critical that you feel comfortable expressing yourself in writing.

  3. Be self-motivated and self-disciplined: With the freedom and flexibility comes responsibility. Taking an online course takes a real commitment and discipline to keep up with the flow of the course.

  4. Be willing to “speak up” if problems arise: If you are experiencing difficulty with the course content, communicate this immediately to your instructor.

  5. Be willing and able to commit to 5 to 20 hours per week per course: It is a myth that online classes are easier than traditional classroom-based classes. In fact, many students will say online courses require much more time and commitment to successfully complete. Staying up with the class and completing all work on time is vital. If you fall behind, it can be very difficult to catch up.

  6. Be able to meet the minimum requirements for the course or program: The requirements for an online course or program are no less than that of any other quality educational program. The successful student will view online as a convenient way to receive their education – not an easier way.

  7. Accept critical thinking and decision making as part of the learning process: The learning process requires you to make decisions based on facts as well as experience. Assimilating information and executing the right decisions require critical thought.

  8. Have practically unlimited access to a computer with internet service: Online courses are offered in Blackboard, our Learning Management System at the University of Vermont. All of the course related materials, syllabi, readings, lecture notes, assignments, and discussion boards are contained and organized within Blackboard. For an online course, there usually aren’t any on-campus or face-to-face meetings–with the exception of a web meeting or advising if the student requests it. There is no specific day or time you need to log-in to the class each week. Still, there are assignments and due dates. Regular participation and contribution are expected on the discussion boards or other communication tools within Blackboard. A habit of logging in daily is essential for your success.

  9. Be able to think ideas through before responding: Making meaningful and quality contributions to the online classroom is an essential part of the learning process. Time is given in the process to allow for the careful consideration of responses. The testing and challenging of ideas is encouraged.

  10. Understand that high-quality learning can take place without being in a traditional classroom: If you feel that a traditional classroom is a prerequisite to learning, you may be more comfortable in a traditional campus-based classroom. The level of social engagement and the level of interaction between you and your instructor can be very rewarding in an online class.

As an online student, you should be ready to:

  • Participate in the online class 5-7 days a week

  • Work with others in completing projects

  • Use the technology properly

  • Meet the minimum standards as set forth by the institution

  • Complete assignments on time

  • Enjoy communicating in writing

Source: https://learn.uvm.edu/blog/blog-education/10-tips-for-success-as-an-online-student

Online Learning Insights - Five-step Strategy for Student Success with Online Learning

Students that are enthusiastic about online learning cite numerous reasons for preferring the virtual format, yet it’s flexibility that is extolled most often – the ability to study and learn on ‘my time’. Ironically, it is this convenience factor that can cause some online students to procrastinate, or worse fail to engage in the learning process at all, which often leads to students dropping out or performing poorly.

As discussed in previous posts, a key factor to student success in the online environment is self-direction, the capability and willingness to direct one’s own eduction. Online students, more so than traditional students, need to be independent and take responsibility for their learning. Self-directed learning involves a specific skill set: organization, motivation, and a sense of confidence.

The question—can online students ‘learn’ to be self-directed, or is self-direction innate? Most educators would agree there is an element of both at play. Intrinsic motivation is needed for learners of any age in any situation, though for the most part self-direction competencies can be learned, that is specific behaviours can be practiced and implemented. In this post I write for two sets of readers, first for online students. I’ve included a five-step strategy that includes a set of behaviours ‘real’ students have identified as crucial to their success in completing online college courses for credit. For educators, I’ve included a set of suggestions, actions that support students in becoming self-directed learners, one of which involves giving the responsibility to the learner, a critical component in the instructor-learner relationship.

Five-step Success Strategy for Students

I’ve customized the following strategy based on three credible sources of ‘real’ online students: 1) a student body of online learners at a four-year college (my workplace), 2) a group of successful online students from a study How Students Develop Online Learning Skills and, 3) from my experience as an online student.

Step One: Read the syllabus. The syllabus is a critical resource for any course. It is the road map or ‘game plan’ for the entire course—get to know it well. Print a copy on the first day of class, read through it twice. At the same time highlight, then record the due dates for assignments and threaded discussions in your personal calendar. If you need reminders, add those too. Once the course gets going, review assignment instructions, discussion topics, etc. at the beginning of each week and consult grading guidelines and check dues dates [again]. You’ll be amazed how much easier assignments become once you are [very] familiar with the instructions.

Online Student: “I had work and family responsibilities when I took online courses – life would get crazy! After the first course when I missed the due dates for assignments one too many times, I was determined not to get behind again. The most effective method for me was to enter the due dates in my calendar. I was then able to get a handle on what was due when.”

A note about due dates: if you know it will be impossible to submit an assignment by the due date because of an urgent life situation (illness, work disaster, etc.), contact your instructor as soon as possible, before the assignment is due. You will get far more consideration from the instructor by contacting him or her before rather than after-the-fact.

Step Two: Plan weekly study times. Studying, participating in forums and completing assignments in an online class can be challenging, even more so when juggling multiple responsibilities. Time management is vital for online students. Planning a regular study time, blocking off set times each week is what successful online students do most often. According to the study referenced in this post, 79% of students identified this method of managing their time as critical to their success (Roper, 2007). Plan a schedule and stick to it.

Online Student: “Setting and staying to specific study days was one factor that worked for me. For example, in the evenings throughout the week, I read the lessons. Weekends were generally reserved for working on assignments. Saturdays were also devoted to online postings and building on what I had submitted.

Step Three: Log onto the course home a minimum three times per week. Logging onto the course home page consistently each week is associated with higher grades for students according to several studies on online student behavior. Get into the habit of checking in consistently, even daily, to read discussion posts, check for instructor announcements and/or review course materials. While you are logged on, get involved and be an active participant in discussions. Though threaded discussions may appear daunting when you first get started, everyone has something of value to contribute. By logging on consistently each week, reading and responding to classmate postings, you will begin to feel part of a community, and enhance your learning experience at the same time.

Online Student: “The experience was greatly enriched by the relationships and interaction with my fellow students. It amazes me how well we got to know each other even though we were often thousands of miles apart and were only virtual classmates. I learned as much from other students as I did from the instructors.”

Step Four: Ask questions. Instructors want to help, they want students to be successful and expect students to ask questions. When I work with course instructors this is one complaint that is expressed most often about online students, ‘why don’t they ask?’ The virtual space in online learning can be a barrier, if you let it get in the way. If you have a question about course content, need clarification on a difficult concept – ask. And when you do ask a question, make it count. Before you post a question, know what you are asking and why. Be clear and concise in your communication. You’ll be glad you asked!

‘Google Hangouts’ image credit 9to5google.com

Step Five: Make connections with fellow students. Connecting with online classmates and building a learning community is easier than you might think given all of the social tools and applications available today. Reach out to one student, send an email to ask a question, or create a Facebook group for your class, even create a small study group. If assigned to a group project, try Google Docs, which is a terrific collaborative tool, and while in Google, try Google+ Hangouts, an application that allows you to video chat and discuss in real time, even share documents and Web pages.

To all online students: I encourage you to apply and try-out at least one of the five suggestions outlined here. Though there is no perfect strategy that guarantees online success, trying at least one strategy is better than no strategy. The critical factor in online learning success is your role as the learner – the learning experience is what you make of it. Be an active participant, ask questions and enjoy the opportunities that learning provides.

Recommendations for Educators

Educators have a role in students’ self-directed learning too, and that is to give the learner the responsibility of learning, expect success and be there. Below are a few suggestions:

  • Outline expectations for students thoroughly, By articulating expectations and the role of the student in the course, we ‘give’ the student the responsibility.

  • Expect questions in the first two weeks of the course. This is the ‘syllabus blues’ phase. Students require more support during this phase than any other. See my post here that describes this phase in detail.

  • Respond promptly to student questions. The twenty-four hour rule is a good benchmark.

  • Don’t expect students to know how to be self-directed, they may need to develop this skill set. Direct students to resources that support students in developing their self-direction skills. Many higher education institutions provide excellent resources for online students. Find out if your school offers these resources, and inform your students about them. If not, consider including a list of resources in your syllabus for students. Below are a few excellent examples:

Tips for Success in Online Learning, Boise State University

Online Study Skills Workshop, Cook Counseling Center, Virginia Tech

Quick Start Guide for Online Students, Sidneyeve Matrix, Queen’s Univerity

Student Tips for Online Learning Success, North Hennepin, Community College

Online learning has its rewards for both students and instructors, as well as its challenges as we’ve explored in this article. But with a sound strategy for learning, a strategy for education that is specific to the online environment, students have the opportunity to be successful online students and life-long learners. I very much like this quote that applies to both students and instructors, ‘learning is not a spectator sport’.

Source: https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/five-step-strategy-for-student-success-with-online-learning/

Good Colleges - 21 Study Tips for Online Classes Success

Do you want to know how to be successful in online college classes? Here are the study tips you need.

These 21 learning tips and strategies come from online college students from across America, Australia and other countries.

We ran an international competition for students to tell us how to achieve success in online classes. The entries were used to build the list below, which shows:

  • 101 edited quotes from the best 63 entries into the essay competition

  • the top 21 study tips identified by college students.

Many students commented that you need to be organized and self-motivated for online study success. They told us the strategies they use to help them be model students. Online classes are not easy but, by following these techniques, you have a great chance of being successful.

1. Set a Major Goal

My most important tip for anyone attending or considering an online degree is to stay on task. It’s understandable that sometimes things happen in life that are unforeseen and pull us away from our studies. But you must keep your primary goal in mind.

When you set goals that are personally important, you’re more likely to manage your time in a way to accomplish them.

For online study to be a successful experience, you need to be passionate about your chosen course of study. This passion will drive you to be disciplined and to persevere when deadlines are looming.

Focus on the big picture and remember why you chose to study in the first place. Take one step at a time and, before you know it, you'll be closer to achieving your dreams.

Keep in mind why you are seeking this degree. Just having the mindset that I'm doing this for my family, or I'm doing this for a better career, or just doing it to say "hey I did it" is enough encouragement to keep your mind on your studies.

Keep the end goal in mind. When I have been stressed about a deadline, or my thoughts are diverted from my studies, I like to take a 5-minute break and visualize where I want to be. My end goal is to be a social worker in the hospital, because my children both have a rare disease and the social worker has been a great influence to me during our many hospital stays. I visualize myself helping other parents during their difficult times, and it helps me get back on track.

Want it! Want it bad enough to obtain it through any means necessary. It's imperative to read more, listen closely, collaborate and keep in close contact with online teams, professors and peers.

Constantly remind yourself why you are going to school. Online school is completely self-driven and reminding yourself why you started in the first place can boost your drive and help you achieve your goal of a diploma!

That desire to attain dreams and become a student must always be with you, through every course, and for every goal you wish to accomplish. You must approach assignments with conviction, whether it be taking notes on a 2-minute educational video or doing research for a thesis.

2. Treat Study Like a Job

Always remember, study is your work. Consciously choose to show up, absorb wonderful content available to you, schedule in assessments, lectures, tasks, and really set and keep those boundaries. Have a success mindset. Implement firm boundaries. Keep a schedule like your depends on it.

I plan to treat my online classes like a job. Setting daily goals and making checklists can help me succeed in each course and project, allowing me to prove that I can work efficiently and independently. Accomplishing small goals each day and creating a portfolio will help motivate me to keep working.

Make school your top priority every day and you can't fail!

Some online classes ask you to post a picture of yourself that your classmates can see on your online class. I have seen some doozies, including shots that almost look pornographic. Please remember that your online class is not a model shoot where you get to show off your assets. Oh, and that also includes posting a picture of your dog’s face instead of yours.

3. Make a Study Plan

Make a study plan! At the beginning of each term I take the time to plan readings and work on assignments. Although I regularly adjust the plan if necessary, it keeps me on track.

Set out a clear and achievable study plan and stick to it to it 95% of the time, allowing yourself some room and respite for the unexpected.

Be organized and set a certain amount of hours per day or week into your schedule for studying.

Write out a weekly schedule with dates and times. Make sure to set aside enough time to focus only on school with no distractions. That's important.

Have a planner for school only. In my planner I can organize my daily tasks or assignments that need to be completed. I will write down how many times I will have to be involved in discussion. I will also schedule my study sessions and which topic I will be working on for that day. This really helps me to stay on top of due dates and keeps me on track to be successful in my classes.

Plan ahead! When it comes to online school, you don’t have a set time to sit around and do your work. You must always plan a time specifically on your own to do your work.

I strongly recommend creating a semester plan, study plan, and time management strategy according to the prescribed study hours per week. These should be made a few days before the semester starts.

4. Manage Time Carefully

Set a schedule and stick with it to keep you structured. People generally do better in a structured environment. So why not make it even easier for yourself? If you know what time block you devote to school, you are more apt to be consistent, avoid late assignments and put study first.

I used to wait until the last minute to complete and submit my assignments. That does nothing but add more stress. I have come to realize that, if I pace myself and stay proactive in my classes, I feel better about my assignments. If I mess up on something, I still have time to go back and fix it.

Estimate how much time you will need for study. Set up a schedule and inform your family / housemates. It’s imperative to have the support of the people you live with. They can't help you succeed if you don't give them a chance.

Success in online study boils down to one skill that can be applied to everything you do in life: Time Management. Make a schedule that you can quickly check to see what you need to accomplish and when those tasks need to be complete. Set aside time for yourself and for your studies. During your dedicated study time, try to disconnect from distractions like social media, your phone, or television so that you are able to focus on what you really need to get done. And when you finish the assignments ahead of schedule like the rock star you are? Look ahead and get a jump on future work. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.

Make a weekly plan the day before a new week starts so you know what you are going to do as far as homework and research. Divide everything up during the week so you know what to complete on a daily basis. Review materials in small portions so you’re not cramming everything into one day, stressing out, and trying to hurry and get everything done at the last minute.

5. Have Dedicated Study Blocks

First and foremost, there needs to be time set aside each day, without interruptions, to fully focus on your work.

Make time for your schooling. No matter how busy you are, you’re going to have to cut time out of your life to focus on school. Sacrifices will have to be made – deal with it. If I have a kickboxing tournament the same night as an exam, guess what? Exam it is!

It is best to have a scheduled time to study. I have two hours a night set aside for my studies. When my boys were younger, this was after they went to bed, so I had from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. every night for my studies. Now we do homework/studies together at night.

What has been incredibly helpful to me is setting aside ‘school time’. This has been essentially my savings grace. I treat my online classes as if they are a traditional classroom setting. Three times a week I ‘go to school’. I literally block off a two hour window to complete homework, participate in online discussions with my classmates, and also study. I don’t allow myself to be ‘late’ to school or to reschedule class time in light of social events, activities, or anything else that could easily become a diversion.

Your education is important so scheduling the right time each day to focus on it can really make a difference. This schedule allows you to get everything done without feeling like you neglected anything.

Set aside a time. I prefer early morning. I run into office earlier (usually 1 hour earlier) and dedicate this to study. I lock myself in my room. Morning is best, because you are still fresh and have not yet had any work related stress issues have been brought to your desk.

Dedicate a specific amount of time each day or each week to studying and commit to it. A lot can come up in life, and there will always be many distractions. If you are a morning person, then wake up an hour earlier and spend some time studying. If you are a night owl, then dedicate some of that Facebook and Instagram time on an evening to studying.

Personally, I tend to enjoy (and benefit) the most from my courses when I deliberately schedule blocks of time in advance to devote to school work. This helps me to prioritize school and meet my deadlines, while still allowing me to have an otherwise busy, active life.

6. Find a Quiet Space

Pick a time throughout the day when either everyone is away from home, pick a corner of the house where you can relax and study.

Create a space of peace. You need to designate an area that is free of distraction. When diversions are present, it may reflect in poor quality of work; hindering your education. Discussing your "quiet zone" with your family or friends may be beneficial as well so they understand that your time is crucial to your academic success.

Make sure the kids are not around or are sleeping. I have found that a quiet house is much more conducive to quality study time.

Tell your family or roommates that you need quiet time and to not be disturbed. This works because if you are not disturbed you are not likely to lose train of thought or get distracted.

7. Eliminate Distractions

Dedicate a specified time for school work each day and isolate yourself from distractions. When I was enrolled in my online Spanish class during the summer in high school, I made it a point to work at least 2 hours a day on the course directly after lunch. If it is routine, then it will be easy to maintain. I also placed myself at the table with only the computer so that nothing else could gain my attention.

I've found that it's important to have a designated study area free from outside noises and distractions. Turn off mobile phones and TV. Some background music can help you to relax, but it's important that it's not too loud to become a distraction.

Cut off all electronics or put them on silent. A distraction-free environment slows your thinking down and helps you feel more at ease because you are no longer concentrating about everyone else. It overcomes the problem of not being able to concentrate when you try to study.

Allow quiet time to focus. My time is in the morning before the kids wake up is when my mind is awake, fresh to new ideas and most creative. I believe that creativity is an important asset for completing assignments.

8. Limit Social Media

Sure, it's fun to get lost in the black hole of Facebook, but when it comes to getting a college degree, that blue and white "thumbs up" gets shoved to the wayside for studying!

One way that I stay focused on my studies is by logging off of all my social media accounts. There are enough distractions around me in the real world. I don't need to add more in the virtual world. It's easy to lose track of time scrolling through your friend's vacation photos or reading all of your favorite comedian's hilarious tweets.

Since the computer screen is an online student's classroom, it may be difficult to resist the temptation to see how many Likes my latest post received, but by logging off and not having my social media pages up, I'm able to focus more on what I'm reading or on the assignment I'm working on.

When I have a big project due... I go off the grid. I will literally disable my Facebook account I will utilize my phone settings such as do not disturb mode so I won't be tempted to chat instead of work.

9. Use Online Resources

Use any of the student resources that are available. For instance, your college has an online library which offers sources for assignments. Another resource that is sometimes available is a writing center. If you need your paper fixed or just have a question on formatting, the writing center can help.

I would assume that most online colleges have resources available to help with your studies. The college that I attend has a virtual Math tutor. I also have an excellent writing center. One program checks plagiarism another check for grammar and spelling errors.

My tip for succeeding at online study is to make sure you learn how to navigate around your classroom home tabs. This is where you will find your weekly assignments and activities. You will also find your teacher info and fellow classmates for if you have questions. Learn your school website so you know how to access your library, upcoming classes, website info, technical support, and more. Also make sure you know how to contact your school, teachers, and other people when you have a question or concern. Take time to click on each tab on the school website to see what they all do and mean before you get started.

10. Break Down Tasks

Having a detailed calendar of what you will accomplish each day will definitely give you the base to achieve your goals.

I have found the best way to study is to break the information down. It is easier to retain small amounts of information at a time and is not as time consuming. You do not feel as though you are "cramming". I can divide my time up on each section which ultimately puts me in control of what I am studying and prevents the studying from taking over me. Small breaks in between sections allow me to refresh my brain and give me the extra boost to continue on.

Create a timetable which breaks your study schedule up into 1-hour study blocks with 15 minute breaks in between. This style of studying will seem less daunting and allow for you to keep on top of your work. By studying in small blocks, your brain is also better able to consolidate and understand the information – thus facilitating an enriched learning experience, as opposed to rote learning, where you essentially forget all the information after or even during the assessment.

Each study session should have a specific goal.

11. Be Mentally Engaged

I like to quiz myself on whatever I am studying. This helps me to check my knowledge, and feel more confident when it is time for the real exam.

Go back and either watch the video or read the chapter again. If you do not understand it, do not just keep going and hope it makes sense. Going back and doing it again and again always makes it stick.

A good strategy for success is to turn off all distractions. Turn off the TV, radio and phone and focus on the work. This will help you to better concentrate on the task at hand (and without the distractions that social media can provide). When you allow yourself to become absorbed in study, learning improves.

12. Take Notes

Write down important points. Just like in a traditional classroom setting, taking notes may make it easier to remember the important pieces of information you will need to retain.

When I first started studying online, I found it difficult to listen to videos 3 hours straight and remember everything. Take breaks! Also, you could record teaching videos if they are only streamed online. Divide the video into several parts, depending on topics and sub-topics. Give the file a name (Psychology: An Introduction) and a date (27.09.2015) so it is easier to find at a later point. Write down in bullet points what you can hear (Psychology is…) in each section and put the time (01:35 or 00:57-2:13) behind it.

All of my books through my college are eBooks, and I use digital text for reading. I sit at my computer and use my headphones to listen to the book as I follow along, highlighting important points. When finished, I go over it and write all the important points in outline format using pen and paper. This helps me retain the information. Doing this has been vital for my study time.

Keep notes on a regular Word document and click on the “Ctrl” & “F” key to find information. This has been a tremendous help when taking online quizzes and exams. Your notes are all available on the same document and easier to find when needed, rather than having your information scattered in various areas.

13. Browse Intelligently

You have the entire world at your fingertips. You can research entire events from history in color, or have a renowned mathematician take your hand and work you through a problem, or a scientist explain to you how exactly your solar system works. Use your time and resources wisely.

To keep my research organized, I created an online flashcards account and keep the tab open while online. I created a folder for each class and made a set of cards for the various study topics. When I find interesting content, I copy the data to a flashcard and include a link back to the source. Because the flashcards are stored online, they can be accessed at any time, even when I am reading online material using my phone.

14. Make Study Enjoyable

Playing happy music keeps me alert and in a good mood. Keeping good vibes going while I study, make the studying go by faster, and much more enjoyable.

Play mellow music. When I study, the music helps me remember what I studied and I tend to turn it in to a song.

My tip is coffee, coffee, coffee and more coffee. Well, OK, that's just for me. And, if you don't have a quiet room because you have noisy children who do not come with a volume control, try noise cancelling headphones (joke).

I like to study with coffee. Coffee is my treat for myself when I need to study hard. By starting my studying with something I enjoy, it makes my entire study session better.

Have fun. It is exciting and rewarding to be in school and learning about new topics that interest you. It is too easy to get stressed out when going to school online but, if done correctly, the schooling can be very rewarding.

Above all else, enjoy the process, the opportunities and unique experience that online study can provide!

15. Take Breaks

Take frequent, short breaks. My mind becomes a little bit numb after an hour of looking at the computer screen, so I have found that stepping away and taking a few minutes to myself is a way to rejuvenate my brain.

Maintain regular breaks to avoid strain (and make sure your study space is set up correctly). A quick break and walk outside can really revitalize you to continue studies. And don’t force it. Do the work when you are in the right frame of mind (online studies are more flexible so you can do this).

Schedule breaks of 5 or ten minutes between study time. It helps you get a breather and grab a snack or use bathroom. You stay on track while also getting a few minutes of peace and relief.

Decide on a task, set a timer for 25 minutes, and work! If a distraction pops into your head, write it down, but get back to the task. When the bell rings, have a small break. Go for a walk, make a cup of tea, or find a dog to cuddle. This legitimately stops me from getting square eyes. Mum would be proud.

16. Stay Healthy

Stay healthy! “Mens sana in corpore sano: A healthy mind in a healthy body”. Our brain can only work to its fullest if our body is well. Have regular breaks that involve exercise and fresh air and eat good food! Preparing a healthy meal or going for a run is not wasting your time. I usually come up with my best ideas during a mountain jog.

Eating well, getting plenty of sleep and taking regular breaks for 10-15 mins to stretch the arms and legs helps keep focus and avoids eye strain from computer monitors.

Eat healthy and stay hydrated. While running around doing everything, I was forgetting to eat right and not drinking enough fluids. So guess what happened? I became ill. That really placed a huge stone in my educational road. You can't study online when you’re in hospital, so think about you.

The important thing is sleep. We as human adults need seven to eight hours of sleep to function. I understand that the need to cram all knowledge before a quiz is a well-known idea of college but studying is key. I am not talking about studying the night before, but possibly the month before. The night before a quiz should be dedicated to a good meal and sleep. When the brain is asleep, the mind can think clearly and go over past studying tips.

Getting rest is a must. I find my papers sound less insane if I have had a decent night’s sleep.

Don’t overdo it. Remember to spend time with friends and family. It is good to have some balance. It’s good for your overall happiness, sanity and for the preservation of relationships.

17. Connect with Others

Connect with others! Online portals, discussion boards and Facebook can help to find students in the same course, maybe even in your local area. Connect with peers and team up for group assessments, stay in touch, and help each other with proof-reading, tips and exchange of resources. Talking to other students opens my mind and keeps me motivated.

An important part of the online classroom is classroom participation and discussion. Posts that engage others in a back and forth repartee aid in the conceptualization of research papers and slide presentations that are assigned as homework. Although class participation does not amount to a large percentage of my grade, it does guide my though processes for the entire class. It accounts for the A-grade point average that I've maintained throughout the course of my online study.

Engage! Don’t disengage simply because it is online learning. Interact with your classmates and lecturer as though you were doing in-class learning to gain the ultimate benefits.

Communication with other students is vital. People may think that online schooling is a way to avoid talking to other students. However, this is not true. In order to fully comprehend certain material, it is sometime necessary to see another person’s point of view on the subject matter. Talking to other students by messaging or posting comments can sometimes open a student’s mind to other opinions or help them understand an assignment. Students learn from each other and cooperative learning is the same online as it is in any traditional college.

Stay proactive in your class as well as with your classmates. Ask questions and participate as much as you can. There are so many great opportunities as an online learner because the students in your class are usually from all over the United States. As a student, you are able to draw information and gain more knowledge and different perspectives than you may in a face-to-face classroom setting.

Communication is the number one thing that will make online learning a positive experience. Email your professor, post in the forums, text your classmates – use every communication skill you have to make sure you are getting what you need from the course. Getting to know your classmates as much as possible is a positive aspect of online learning. You never know when you will make a new friend!

I am new to online courses and realized rather quickly that just responding to the professor’s posts was not enough. To get a better grasp of the idea or concept being taught in a group discussion, we must ask questions among ourselves and respond in a positive manner to ideas that would be considered “Thinking outside the box”.

Email etiquette is essential and extremely important as it is the only form of communication many online programs partake in. A simple "Good Morning", "I hope this email reaches you well", "Thank you", "Please" or "You are greatly appreciated" matters a lot. Warm gestures go a long way and I'm constantly reminded that it makes a huge difference.

18. Join a Study Team

Create a team of virtual friends, 2-3, maybe more and have regular discussions. Meet up like once a fortnight to pick each other’s brains, see how far each is with the assignments, and also any challenges anyone is facing. This can be through WhatsApp or Facebook.

Build relationships with fellow students. I’ve made some wonderful friendships that are based on a mutual passion for the nursing profession and providing support and encouragement for each other through the highs and lows that can come with study.

One of the best ways to be successful is to group together with some study buddies. The friends I have made have been invaluable for surviving and passing online courses. We are there for each other to bounce ideas, work out task requirements, cram for exams and offload when stressed. We are encouraging and remind one another that it will all be worth it.

We all struggled in the same ways, with the same assignments and readings and, once we discovered this, were able to assist each other. Everyone is fighting for the same goal.

19. Ask Questions

It's important if you're struggling with a topic to be proactive and seek out help. Many online courses have great teachers just waiting to assist you.

Ask questions as soon as you have them. There's nothing worse than convincing yourself that you will eventually learn the subject and find out a week later that you still do not understand the topic. Generally with online classes, one week is built off the knowledge of the past week. If you do not understand week 1, you will have greater difficulty in week 2, and so on.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you don't understand, just ask. The professors are there to help. Failure to ask may cost you a good grade on an assignment.

If you are confused about a course or have questions about an assignment, do not hesitate to ask your instructor. They are there to guide students in the learning process. They want to help students succeed.

20. Beat Deadlines

Set a strict guideline on assignments. If an assignment is due on a Monday, do not wait to do it until Sunday night. It creates unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Most students find themselves putting in a lot of work on the day an assignment is due. I like to pretend that everything is due one day early, giving me a little extra time if needed.

For bigger assignments, such as outlines and essays, it is beneficial to set a personal deadline to finish 2 days before the actual deadline. Two days is an ideal time to do extra revision and editing to any work. It allows 1 day for rest and 1 day to revisit the work with clear eyes. That one day could mean catching errors in grammar that were missed in the original revision process and making a satisfactory grade into an excellent one.

Save your work when you are finished and come back them next day and read it aloud. You will find more mistakes that way and possibly see a better way to write something. This only works if you manage your time well enough to have those extra hours later to review.

Taking online courses does not mean putting away homework for a few days and catching up on The Walking Dead series, before finishing a course project 2 hours before midnight on the night it is due. I have learned to not procrastinate because I like my sleep better than pulling all-nighters.

Finishing work early means you have more time to ask questions or make improvements. The flexibility of online study should allow you to review and critique your work before turning it in.

21. Reward Yourself

If you get an A on a paper, treat yourself. If you get an A in the class, go big. You have to remember that you do have a life. Go out with your friends. Go to the movies with your partner. If you only do homework, you’re going to get burned out.

Reward yourself! "Look, if I can just sit down for 2 hours and kick this math in the ass, then I can take myself out for a nice greasy burger!" It always seems to be easier to motivate ourselves when we know there's something waiting for us at the finish line.

Source: https://goodcolleges.online/study-tips-for-success/

Online Learning Insights - Five Need-to-Have Skills for Online Students

This article outlines five of the most essential skills students need to be successful with online course work, 1) basic computer skills, 2) digital communication, 3) Web search, 4) time management, and 5) collaboration skills, AND includes excellent resources for learning more about each.

1) Computer Skills—The Basics

Why you need it: At the very least you’ll need basic set of computer skills to function effectively in an online course. You’ll be communicating with the instructor and classmates either through discussion forums, email and video conference or chat platforms. You’ll also be uploading assignments, converting documents to PDF files, navigating within the course site, conducting searches, installing and updating software.

Applications/tools you’ll need: Access to a computer or laptop equipped with a webcam and microphone, an email address, as well as access to a reliable, high-speed internet connection (more so if accessing streamed lecture videos). If access to high-speed internet is a barrier, alternatives to view video content include: viewing in low definition setting, downloading video file to computer for later viewing, or reading lecture transcripts.

Access to word processing software such as Microsoft’s Word or Apple’s Pages. Some courses require use of Excel and/or presentation software such as PowerPoint. You’ll need to be able to convert a document to a PDF file format, and have up-to-date plug-ins, such as Flash, to engage with web content. The main gateway into an online course is through the course management system, also known as the learning management system (LMS)—you’ll need to be familiar with the features of the LMS specific to your course.

Resources:

2) Digital Communication

Why you need it: As an online student you’ll be communicating and collaborating with your instructors and classmates in a variety of ways, most frequently through writing. Communication is either delayed, (asynchronous) where students post messages on discussion board for instance (similar to Facebook), or in real-time, (synchronous) during a video conferencing session, interactive classroom within the LMS, or a chat session.

What you’ll need to do: To engage within discussion forums, which is a typical method to interact with your classmates and apply course concepts through dialogue. You’ll need to use netiquette skills when communicating online. Netiquette skills include for example, using full sentences, avoiding sarcasm, and using emoticons. These skills also apply to email communication, where you’ll want to be clear and succinct. Your instructor or institution may provide a list of netiquette skills for your class.

Tip: To make the most of learning with discussion forums, you’ll want to provide thoughtful responses that include deeper insights and/or resources (e.g. links to external content sources) that build on course concepts. Students can add value to online discussions by encouraging fellow classmates to expand on their ideas by posing thoughtful ideas and questions that will challenge classmates (and yourself) to think and reflect further about concepts.

Resources:

3) Web Search

Why you need it: Knowing how to conduct searches on the Web is a skill set needed in today’s digital culture, yet students learning online need advanced Web search skills that go beyond ‘Googling it’. We live in an age of information abundance, yet information is not knowledge. You’ll be sourcing relevant information for your studies—finding resources to share within discussion forums, references for papers and projects. Also searching for sources to learn background information within the course subject area you aren’t familiar with.

What you’ll need to do: Use a variety of search tools to find scholarly articles, search databases, discern credible sources, locate primary and secondary sources.

Resources: If you are studying with an institution, check with library services for online tutorials in using library databases, search skills, etc. Often local public libraries have instructional resources for conducting scholarly research—all you require is a library card.

4) Time Management

Why you need it: Life can get in the way of studying online, more so for students taking online courses that have full-time or part-time jobs, are juggling family responsibilities, or already have a full course load at a traditional institution, all of which suggest that time management skills are critical to student success.

What you’ll need to do: Take charge of your learning from the beginning of the course; allow no time for procrastination to set in. Research suggests that habits of successful online students include consistent and specific times set aside each week for their online studies. Other recommendations:

  • Log on to your course at least three or four times per week. For discussion forum activities, you’ll need to post an initial response to a discussion question early in the week, then log onto the course site throughout the week to read and respond to classmates’ comments and elaborate on your own.

  • Read the syllabus on the first day of the course; print off a hard copy or keep a digital copy on your mobile device to refer to throughout the course.

  • Record all dates for assignments, exams, tests for the entire course in your calendar, and add reminders.

Resources:

5) Collaboration

Why you need it: You’ll be collaborating with your classmates for group projects and assignments. Numerous online courses require some form of interaction among students, and frequently students question the value of group work, especially in online courses. Yet it is beneficial for students. Working in small teams, in face-to-face and online classwork is a method that promotes application of core concepts, builds knowledge and provides learners with skills that allow them to view problems and situations from different perspectives.

Developing good collaboration skills will be an asset beyond the online classroom. Employers regardless of sector, seek people who are team players, can communicate across digital platforms with co-workers or clients on projects and/or research. Given the global and digital nature of current culture, digital collaboration is a competency considered an essential skill for all.

What you’ll need to do: There are three key aspects to collaborating successfully with other students online: 1) familiarity with the platforms and applications the group will use for communication, 2) effective communication skills, and 3) an understanding of factors that influence positive outcomes for team work in online settings. Below are suggestions for each aspect, with additional resources below.

  1. Determine which applications your group will use to collaborate and communicate— become familiar with how to use each. There may be more than one, e.g. a virtual meeting place specific to your group within the LMS, a real-time meeting platform, such as Google Hangouts or Appear.in. Groups usually use a collaboration platform to work on the project, such as Google Docs, WeVideo for creating videos, or other sharing platforms. If you are not familiar with a tool or application, seek out tutorial videos to learn it, or ask for help.

  2. Communicate with group members—be present, be involved, be vocal. Don’t be that group member that doesn’t respond to group communication, shows up at the last-minute, or doesn’t pull his of her weight.

  3. Know the dynamics of team work in an online environment • Different time zones can pose a challenge but are workable when acknowledged up-front • Set up a schedule with deadlines • Getting the project started is the most challenging—brainstorming sessions work well to share ideas—synchronously or asynchronously • A team leader is critical to group effectiveness—suggest early that a group member assume the role • Get to know each other as people; being social builds relationships and trust • If a group member is not contributing, team lead should contact him or her; if non-participation persists, notify instructor asap.

Source: https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/are-you-ready-to-learn-online-five-need-to-have-skills-for-online-students/