Tips for Learning Online

Time management

Some students think that an online course is cyber-surfing for credit. An online course often requires more work than a traditional classroom course. Time management is the most important skill needed for success in distance learning. In addition to having enough time to complete course work, you need to be able to plan your time, make a schedule, and stick to it.

Do you excel at the art of procrastination? If so, distance learning classes will be especially challenging. The following tutorial offers effective tips for beating procrastination: Overcome Procrastination

Communication

Your online course work will require extensive written communication, particularly with e-mail or through thread discussions, also known as message boards. Threaded discussions are text-based messages that allow you and your classmates to engage in classroom discussions. Remember that these discussions are viewable to the entire class and follow the rules of Netiquette.

Here are some additional communication tips:

  1. Fill out your personal profile located on the Classlist link of your eLearning course. You only have to fill this out once; it will appear in all of your courses and is a great way to introduce yourself to your classmates.
  2. Most instructors will have an activity so that you can meet your classmates. If they don't, take the initiative and e-mail your class.
  3. Find a "Study Buddy." Students who utilize study groups or buddies typically do much better in class.
Reading

The lecture notes and other materials posted online take the place of the traditional class lecture. Reading online is slower and more difficult than reading a physical text book. The following tutorial will assess your reading speed and provide effective tips for improving your speed and comprehension.

Note Taking

While you are not taking notes in a traditional lecture, effective note taking will still be very important to your success. Writing helps you retain knowledge - don't rely on memory alone. Follow these tips for effective note taking:

  1. Organize your notes along the order of chapter objectives.
  2. Your notes should contain:
    1. definitions of new vocabulary words
    2. new concepts discussed in a chapter
    3. any new procedures that are explained
    4. questions you have about the material
  3. Review your notes within 24 hours of first studying the material. If you don't review for 10-15 minutes within 24 hours, you will only retain 20% of what you initially learn.
  4. Keeping good notes for each unit or topic will give you a tool you can use to prepare for exams without feeling like you're "cramming" everything in at the last minute.
  5. Review, review, review!
Assertiveness

Do you consider yourself assertive? The Cambridge Dictionary describes assertive as:"someone who behaves confidently and is not frightened to say what they want or believe."

Assertiveness and initiative are qualities needed for success in distance learning. You need to take the initiative to ask questions and resolve problems that the instructor may not be able to perceive. Many of the non-verbal cues that instructors use to determine whether a student is not understanding are not as available in an online class as they are in face-to-face learning environments. If you experience difficulty on any level, either with the technology or with the course content, you need to communicate your concerns immediately, otherwise the instructor will not know how to help.

  1. For problems with the course content, contact your instructor
  2. For technology problems, contact the Help Desk
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