In the past, online classes were primarily geared toward college students who worked full-time or high school students attending virtual schools. However, the COVID-19 pandemic made online classes a norm for students across the country. As a result, many schools are adding more online courses and programs to their curricula.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 75%, or 11.8 million, of undergraduate students took at least one online class and 44%, or 7 million, exclusively took online classes in the fall of 2020.
Online classes, often referred to as distance learning, mean you won't have to spend time commuting and – even better – you can take the class whenever it's convenient for you. However, because online classes take a considerable amount of planning and discipline, you must approach your studies differently than you would traditional, in-person classes. These proven techniques will improve your chances of success – and help you ‘make the grade.’
Schedule Your School Time
Distance learning has many benefits, and your first online class may give you a huge sense of freedom.
The entire semester looms in front of you, and you can do the work any time you want. The problem with this thinking is that, even if the class is 100 percent virtual, it will still be set up like a physical class. You'll get a syllabus that lays out expected work for each week, along with assignments that may have to be submitted at regular intervals. The only way to successfully complete this workload is to schedule each day as if you’re taking a regular class. Choose a time when you're free from distractions and able to concentrate, and mark that on your calendar as ‘class time’ once or twice per week. Stick to your schedule, and make sure you meet deadlines and complete all coursework. Make a commitment, and don't deviate until you've completed the class.
Get – and Stay – Connected
Read through the class expectations as soon as you register, and make sure that you understand – and can meet –the technical requirements necessary to complete your distance learning courses. Connect with your professors as soon as possible for insights on what is expected, and stay in touch for guidance to remain on course throughout the semester. In addition, your teachers can point you to online study groups and other academic resources. For additional support, consider working with an accredited educational consulting company either in person or virtually to help you study for exams and stay on track with coursework.
Consider Year-Round Classes
Traditional colleges have two major semesters, plus extra summer classes. Many students use the summer to take vacations or spend time with their family. However, with online classes, you can create your own schedule and you don't have to follow this pattern. Instead, if you take the same number of classes each semester during the year, you'll have a lighter class load each semester, and it will be easier to complete all of your classes each year. You'll also develop and continue the habit of getting schoolwork done each week. Taking months off at a time often disrupts your studying routine, making it difficult to get back into the groove in the fall. A lighter load of year-round classes solves that problem while allowing you to graduate just as quickly.
Research – and Stay the Course
As distance learning continues to rise in popularity, it’s important to thoroughly research any courses you’re considering and make sure they’re offered through a high-quality, accredited institution.
One thing is for certain: online classes are here to stay. Distance learning gives you the opportunity to pursue an education and take classes that fit your schedule. By following these guidelines, you’ll be on the right path to crushing your online classes and meeting your goals.
For additional tips about succeeding in online courses, contact Score At The Top Learning Center and Schools. We’ve helped thousands of students reach – and surpass – their goals, and we can help you.