Online Study Tips
Tips to Succeed in an Online Course at NationsUniversity
Practical Tips for Distance Learners
Online study can be a daunting and difficult experience. It is you, your computer, and the faceless instructor. Since the classroom is virtual and there is no face-to-face interaction with classmates or the professor studying can feel lonely and intimidating. So how will you make the most of your online studying experience? NationsUniversity has compiled a list of suggestions to put you on the road to success.
Mining the syllabus: This is truer for online learning than at a traditional university. The course syllabus is the controlling document of the course. Not only does it tell you the course goals, the readings, the projects, and the assignments, it also lays out the specifics of what has to be accomplished. Carefully look over each point of your syllabus, and if something is not absolutely clear, e-mail the professor or your advisor to ask for clarification. Your work cannot be done correctly if there is not a clear understanding of the course expectations.
Establish a relationship with your advisor: Your first line of communication is with your advisor. The advisor is there to help you with questions that pertain to procedures, technical problems, and learning outcomes. When communicating with your advisor, always identify yourself by your given name and your Student ID. When asking about a given course include the course and the module, be specific and state the issue clearly. This will hasten the response and eliminate confusion. When you have a question that demands a professor’s response your advisor will be your go-between.
Back up your work: Since all your assignments—essays, reports, and projects—are going to be submitted electronically you should save them and back them up frequently while working on them. You would not want to lose all your hard work just because your computer crashed. We especially recommend external backups, either on an external hard drive or on an online cloud service.
Create a schedule: Instructors at NationsUniversity have created courses that are easy to navigate and have clear expectations. Each course has a framework around which you can easily fit your schedule. Be prepared to dedicate two to three hours of time to log in and complete the assignments. You may do this on a weekly or daily basis. So hold yourself accountable by creating a schedule and sticking to it.
Stay organized: Use the course syllabus to guide your schedule. Students will have to find their own way of staying on top of their work. The good news is course work is very flexible when it comes to scheduling but this can be detrimental to the unorganized. Keeping good notes is essential and taking time to thoroughly study before attempting an exam is a must. Your work area should be not only quiet but clean and be sure to keep all coursework materials together.
Have a consistent workspace: It is essential to establish a place for study or to complete assignments, whether that is at an Internet cafe, a public library, or at home. A quiet place with minimal distractions is best. But wherever students choose to study they should make it a consistent location that is as free of outside interferences as possible. NU recommends having a space set aside in your home where you can focus on your work without distractions is important to your success.