Today I thought I would talk to you about my experience with online classes and let you in on a few tips and tricks I have for nailing an online class. Personally before attending FIT I had never taken an online class and just the thought of it terrified me. However, in a few instances, I had no other choice than to take an online class, because my schedule didn’t allow me otherwise.
- Don’t be fooled! Often times we take online classes because we think they will be easier. That is so wrong! Most times than not, they actually require much more work and time than physical classes do. Yes, they are more practical, because you can sleep in and work on your own time, which makes planning more flexible.
- Is this class for you? What I mean by that is that taking an online class pretty much means teaching yourself. So I would really suggest taking a class, you know won’t be too challenging and require too much work. But once again it’s all up to you. If you have a full schedule and decide to take an online class, I wouldn’t take a class you no familiarity with. For example I never took a math classes online, because I knew it was going to require a lot of work and time on my part, because from experience I know math is not my strong suit.
- Make sure you have time. If you have a full schedule, taking 7 classes, and on top of that you are working, I would really think twice before taking an online class. Taking online classes do require you to participate and keep engaged, if it’s a subject you know will be easy to keep up with, then go for it, otherwise I would suggest taking it next semester.
- READ what is expected! This is in my opinion the most important tip. You never know what a course will entail before you read the syllabus. Since you don’t have a teacher to tell you, make sure the first thing you do is check Blackboard and look at the syllabus. From there on you’ll be able to make a final decision and decide if this is the class for you. Last semester I wanted to take my internship class online, thinking it would be easier and less work. I took one glance at the schedule, and dropped out immediately.
- Create a schedule. If you decide that yes, you are going to take that class after reviewing the syllabus, I would start organizing your schedule. How will you split your time, with physical classes, work and your online class. Don’t forget to write ALL deadlines somewhere you won’t forget them, because online classes are all focused around deadlines (and there’s a lot of them).
- Manage you time. OK, so now it’s time to start splitting your time. When are you going to be working on your online class, how long, what day/s. etc. I would invest in a time planner and write down the days you’ll be working on everything, as well as the deadlines all the way through the end of the semester.
- Take notes. This is honestly what helped me pass my online statistics class I took two semesters ago. Online classes can throw a lot of material at you, and it accumulates very quickly with new material coming along each week. Videos, tutorials, pdf’s, word docs, charts, slides etc. What I would do is every unit or section of the class, I would watch the tutorials, read the material and write notes on the most important information. Yes, it takes longer, but a least I didn’t need to go back and scramble to find the material again, it was all in my notebook. This is especially helpful, during quizzes and exams, because you can look at your notebook and everything is in front of you.
- Make sure you have stable WiFi/internet access. This is especially important during quizzes and exams. This happened to me a couple of times during my exams, when the WiFi wasn’t strong enough and would have to reload. This is the most frustrating thing ever, especially if you under a time constraint.
- There’s no time for procrastinating. If you are someone who procrastinates, I would strongly reevaluate taking online classes. With online classes there is no procrastinating, you are constantly under time pressure and deadlines. If you miss a deadline, you cannot just resubmit or re upload it later. The session are closed down and it will affect your grade (harshly).
Anyways, I really hope this was helpful and insightful. Online classes can be really great for students who commute from far away or have busy schedules. However, although I’ve had my few shares of online classes, I personally prefer taking a physical class. But once again we are all different and work differently, some people might enjoy online classes much more than others.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Leave them down in the comments below.