Best Tips for Online Students

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One of the many decisions you’ll make in your educational journey is whether to attend school in person or online. If you’ve decided to continue your education online, there are ways you can make the most of your experience. We spoke with Dr. Harlan Johnson, who teaches online classes at Southern Nazarene University, about his top tips for online learners.

1. Set aside a specific time for schoolwork.

“Time management is even more important in the online environment,” Johnson said, noting that it can be easy to let assignments slip by. He suggests setting aside a specific time for your studies each week, just like you would if you were attending class in person.

2. Reach out to your instructor.

Johnson said, “It’s easy to feel alone in the online environment, so if you have a question, reach out.” Many instructors, including Johnson, are open to speaking with students by phone or video calls. Meeting this way can make your online experience feel more real.

3. Connect with your peers.

In the same vein, Johnson said it’s important to network with other students in the class. You can connect with them over homework assignments and even major life events. “Let other people know what’s going on so they can celebrate right alongside you or bear the burden of that negative event if necessary,” Johnson said.

4. Check your course daily.

When you’re juggling family, work, and education, it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks. Checking your course daily is one way to stay on track, Johnson said. “The information may not change, but this practice will help in keeping yourself accountable, and it will ensure you did not miss anything the first time you viewed the course content.”

5. Plan, plan, plan.

“When possible, look at the entire course, not just one week or one day,” Johnson said. If provided by your professor, the course schedule could help you allot adequate time to complete each assignment.

6. Shift your mindset.

Seeing all your assignments laid out could get you in the mood to go through them and complete everything right away, but Johnson warns against what he called the checklist mentality. “Try to think about what you can take away from each assignment and how you can learn from this opportunity,” Johnson said.

7. Learn about resources available to you.

Online learners can easily feel separated from other students, the instructors, and resources the university has available, Johnson said. If you are struggling, reach out to your professor, other students, or the student success center at your university to see what resources might be of value to you.

While going to school online may not be easy, the advantages of flexibility and convenience make it worth it for many people. Make the most of your education with these tips, and feel free to comment below with any extra questions or tips you have!

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