I never expected online classes to be a breeze, but I definitely didn’t give them enough credit. They’re hard and stressful, just in a different way than on-campus classes. Over the past three weeks, I’ve learned how to adjust to the unique demands of online courses and set myself up for success, and now I’m sharing four things I’ve found super beneficial to staying on top of everything!
Actually complete the assignments
This may seem obvious, but I can guarantee you that some people in an online class fail to complete assignments. There isn’t anyone to hold your hand and remind you that the unit 2 work is due in a few days. It’s all on you, and failing to do the necessary work may very well mean you failing the class. Your professor doesn’t want that, you don’t want that, and your parents DEFINITELY don’t want that.
That being said…
Your planner is your best friend
I don’t care if you don’t want a planner, you NEED one. No one can remember everything, and since meeting deadlines in online classes is crucial to your success, you can’t mess around. Go get a planner, preferably a cute one, and write all the important dates of the course down.
A helpful hint is color coding each class so you can easily distinguish it from others. For example, my human geography class is green, so I use a green pen for everything associated with that course. I can quickly see when a rough week will be coming up by the sheer amount of green present, and make sure I allot the time needed.
Don’t just use your planner for the classes. Make sure you write down EVERYTHING you have coming up the second you schedule it. Even if it’s grabbing coffee with a friend or hitting the gym, being able to visualize your days and see the free time you have available to work on coursework will help tremendously.
It’s impossible to think you can do everything the day before it’s due like you have in past traditional classes. There is waaaay more material and there hasn’t been a professor helping to facilitate the learning process. Make your own schedule of getting things done to ensure you actually complete all the assignments! Whenever you have a block of a few hours, just sit down and crank stuff out. You can be like me and take it a step forward. I actually schedule time to work on material into my day to day plan. Being ahead of schedule keeps you focused and waaaaay less stressed.
Get to know your professor
Though you don’t see your professor, he or she is still there! Believe it or not, professors like to help you succeed. Sending an email scheduling a time to meet (most online professors still have on-campus office hours) will be well-received, and you can get help with unclear directions or tricky assignments. Building a relationship with your professor in an online class shows you care about the course. As in traditional classes, this may work in your favor if your grade is borderline at the end of the semester.
As much as online classes are challenging, there are some major upsides. My personal favorite: You can complete the entire class while in your pajamas, sprawled out on your couch.