Online classes have become more popular these days, even before the mandated education regulations surrounding COVID-19. In light of the transition to a blended learning model, it has become more important to know how to navigate this environment. There are many advantages to online courses. They allow you to learn whenever, wherever, and however works best for you. This can make it easier to earn a degree while balancing other commitments. Online courses can present unique challenges as well if you’re not prepared. RMCAD has put together six strategies for success in an online environment to help ensure students get the most value out of their online classes.
1 – Set Goals
For online courses to be successful, students need to have a passion and drive for their chosen course of study. Remind yourself of why you chose this field of study. This passion can help maintain discipline when deadlines approach. Set realistic and attainable goals both long and short term. Goals should be specific and measurable so that you can check in frequently on your progress. Whether the goal is to finish a paper, update your artist statement for your resume, or complete the research for an upcoming design project, knowing exactly what you need to accomplish and how you plan to do that is a powerful tool.
2 – Make A Study Plan
At the beginning of each term, take the time to read your course syllabus and plan out time for assignments. Be organized and set a realistic amount of hours per day or week into your schedule for studying, hands-on work, and projects. Utilize tools like a dedicated school planner, or Google Calendar to block off times you plan to work on these things. Stick to your study plan as much as possible, but understand that things are dynamic and may shift as you work your way through the week. Plan to block off time to take screen breaks and have personal time as well.
3 -Find a Quiet, Comfortable Learning Space
Set yourself up for success by devoting part of your home to just learning and school. Experiment with spaces to find what works best for you and your learning style. Whether it’s the kitchen table, a desk in your bedroom or a room in your home devoted to an office set-up, having the space where you can feel comfortable and focused will aid your creativity. Customize your workspace to be both functional and inspiring. Ensure you have access to the resources you need in your designated comfortable workspace.
4 – Eliminate Distractions
It’s extremely important that your work-study area be free from distractions. This could mean putting your phone on silent, turning off the game console, and ensuring there are no outside factors that are going to deter concentration. Some are able to tune out noise by listening to music, others may need to work in complete silence. The important thing is finding a strategy that works best to eliminate distractions and constantly practicing it.
5 – Use Resources Available
Whether it’s an online resource like a study guide, an online library, or reaching out to a professor directly, leveraging the networks available at your fingertips is a huge help. Make sure to learn how to navigate the online learning management system where weekly assignments and activities can be found. Familiarize yourself with instructor contact information and don’t be hesitant to reach out when challenges are faced. Utilize online portals, research sites, and the community associated with your study as much as possible. RMCAD specifically has a Student Learning Center that assists with online tutoring, study tips, and program tutorials for students who need assistance.
6 – Actively Participate
Most online classes are built around the idea of collaboration. Professors will likely encourage students to work together in some instances to complete assignments, projects, or discussion topics. Participate in the online forum for your class to better engage with fellow classmates. Chances are if you’re struggling with something in your online course, another student may be as well. Check into classes daily, and don’t wait until you feel yourself falling behind to speak up and advocate for yourself. Be proactive about asking for help and participating. Attending online workshops and events can help the feeling of connection with students and the local community remain while learning in a virtual setting.
Though taking an online class can present its own unique challenges, following these six strategies for success in an online environment can help overcome adversity faced in an online environment, even during chaotic times.
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