Succeeding in Online Classes By Dr. Renee Dauer Union University

While online courses offer convenience and flexibility, they often present challenges that can impact your success. Before you enroll in an online class, consider the following questions.

Am I self-motivated? If you can create a task list, prioritize your work, and commit to a schedule, thenyou should do well. However, if you struggle with staying on task and need to be present to bemotivated, then you may want to reconsider distance learning.

How can I make time to do my work for online classes? Squeezing in your homework between being atthe office and taking your kids to soccer practice will not work. You will become frustrated and headedfor disaster.


To be successful, you must commit to making your coursework part of your weekly schedule. At thebeginning of each term, review your calendar for all the weeks of the course. Block off chunks of timethroughout each week that you will devote solely to studying. Ideally, these will be the same times each week.

Share your schedule with your family, friends, and coworkers. Post your schedule on the refrigerator and add it to your family calendar. Next, find a quiet place to study and claim that space. Ask your family to respect your study time. Unless someone’s life is in eminent danger, you should be left alone.

When will I find time to do my homework? In addition to scheduling time for studying, look for pocketsof time when you can multitask. Keep your textbook with you so you can read during lunchtime or while waiting in the carpool line. Download apps on your phone to help you stay organized and create study tools. Keep a notepad with you to jot down ideas for assignments or questions. Don’t let a fantastic idea vanish because you failed to write it down. Also, break down large assignments such as writing a research paper into smaller jobs such as collecting research, outlining the paper, and writing the first draft. You’ll make more progress and gain satisfaction by accomplishing smaller parts of the project rather than tackling it all at once.

What if I need help? Over 6 million students are enrolled in online courses, and schools are working to provide the support and services distant learners need. Investigate the online resources available where you are enrolled to help with writing assignments, conducting research, navigating the online library, and connecting with tutors if you are struggling in a subject. There are also a number of free online resources available to help with everything from checking grammar to calculating a math problem. Importantly, contact your advisor or instructor if you have any questions or experiencing challenges. Communication and being proactive are the keys to success.

Do I have the right “stuff” to take an online class? If you’re thinking about “stuff” in terms of personal ability, the answer is absolutely YES. There isn’t an expiration date for lifelong learning. However, theother “stuff” that you’ll want to consider are the computer you’ll use and access to the Internet. Youdon’t need a brand new computer, but you do need an up-to-date computer that can run programs such as Microsoft Word. You will also need fast, reliable access to the Internet (preferably broadband).Importantly, do not plan to use a Smartphone or tablet to complete your assignments. While you can access most online courses with these, it will be challenging and very frustrating to try to compose a research paper without using a keyboard or the ability to switch between computer applications. The school where you plan to enroll can provide the specific details of what you’ll need.

Finally, to be successful in an online class, remember these two C’s: commitment and communication. Commit to making the time to complete the work to be done and communicate your needs to anyone who can help.

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