By Olessi Nar - June 13th, 2019
Navigating the online learning experience can be a difficult task for people who are used to a traditional-classroom setting. At first glance, most of us think of all the obvious positive freedoms online learning provides; however, some stay far from online classrooms after a negative experience. Often, this is caused due to the lack of correct tools and prior preparedness.
One thing is for sure, though: Online learning is not easier or harder than going to a physical classroom. It is just different, and you need to prepare yourself to be successful.
Here are 5 tips for navigating the online learning experience:
1. Time Management
This is a big one. Because of the freedom online learning provides, it is important to remember that you are accountable for your own schedule. Learn to plan ahead and mark due dates for projects, reading assignments, and weekly homework. It is very easy to get overwhelmed if you do not find a comfortable rhythm and allocate time every day to finish a task.
Before you know it, EVERYTHING is due. Because you are not in a physical classroom every day, where classmates and professors remind you about due dates, it is easy to forget deadlines, only to remember them last minute. Moreover, many schools just have everything due on Sunday night, and if you procrastinate until that day, there is a huge chance you will not have enough time to finish everything over the weekend.
As aforementioned, no one is there to keep reminding you to finish a paper. When completing classes online, you have to have strong willpower to get up and do whatever you need to do without a professor looking over your shoulder. If you missed the assignment, you missed it. The system automatically puts a zero in your grade book. There’s no classroom for you to run into with a late assignment, begging the professor to accept your work.
4. Support System
Even though most of the communication is virtual, it is a good idea to create a support group and stay connected. Schedule regular virtual meetings and actively participate in the chat rooms. This way you will not miss out on the networking you naturally get in regular classrooms. Remember, there are people from all over the world in your classroom, with different backgrounds but similar interests as yours. You will be thankful down the road that you made these connections.
5. Mobile Devices
Download the submission application to all your devices — your smartphone, tablet, and laptop. Life happens. Sometimes you’ll find yourself working late in the office, and you cannot get home on time to submit your essay. It is a good idea to sync all of your papers to a cloud, or just write everything in Google Docs. It’ll make all the difference if you can submit assignments from your smartphone virtually from anywhere.
Online education could be the most amazing experience if you approach it the right way. Be prepared, know what to expect, and use all the tools your university provides you. Nothing can beat flexibility in the fast-paced, multitasking world we live in today.
Olessi Nar studied Fashion Marketing and Management at SCAD, as well as Marketing at Colorado State University Global. She currently lives in Atlanta, GA, where she’s balancing her career both in front of and behind the camera. Wild about styling, trend forecasting, and afternoon tea. Instagram: @nar.olessi