Tips for Success with Online Degree Programs
There are numerous reasons for enrolling in one of the many online degree programs available through universities and colleges, such as being unable to attend on-campus classes due to time constraints or being unable to travel to the school’s physical location. While it is an excellent idea to pursue higher education even in a non-traditional form, there are certainly key differences and unique challenges to being successful in online degree programs.
If you have enrolled in an online degree program and have not taken online classes before, here is what can be expected on the first day of class and how you can prepare.
• Have all the required materials: These not only include obvious requirements such as textbooks, but also computer software, calculators and additional personal resources, such as notebooks and pens to take notes. While most online classes start with an introduction day, it is still a good idea to have the required materials in advance. Also, at least a few days before class starts, make sure you can log into the online system so potential technical difficulties can be avoided on the first day of class.
• Create a workspace: With online degree programs, among the most crucial things to be aware of in order to be successful are the conditions under which you work the best. A clear, distraction-free area within your home which carries the connotation of work time, such as a desk or table, will go a long way in keeping you concentrated on school work even when there are other things calling for attention.
• Become familiar with the online environment: Your online program will likely be housed in some sort of computer software or online interface. Many universities have student homepages that you sign into which display the classes you are enrolled in and other pertinent information. If your online class pages have been activated (which they often are a week or a few days before school starts), go to your class page and navigate the menu options to see how things are organized. If you are having trouble with the site structure, most universities offer a help page with general articles and tutorials for their programs.
• Bookmark resources: Following from the last bullet point, make sure to bookmark web pages with tutorials, tech support articles and helpful phone numbers. Online systems have their occasional problems, so if you are having technical issues when an assignment is due or you are in the middle of a test, it is a great idea to have the numbers at your fingertips that will be able to help you. Also, do not forget to email your professor if you are having technical issues. Most professors familiar with online classes are aware that there can be issues, and they will likely be very understanding.