At the beginning of your online course it’s easy to feel like you’re ready to take on the world. You read the syllabus. You watched the first video lecture all the way through without checking Facebook once.
But then, out of the blue, you hit a slump.
Suddenly, all the coursework seems overwhelming and you begin to worry that you won't keep up.
It's true that succeeding in an online learning environment takes a little more self-discipline than going to traditional classes, but practice makes perfect. Try out these five tips to help you succeed as an online learner:
1. Pretend that you have a normal class schedule
One of the perks of online courses is flexibility, but don’t let the loose scheduling prevent you from dedicating as much time to studying as you should.
Make sure to schedule regular blocks of time throughout the week to contribute to discussions and study new materials. The less you have to frantically cram before a big test or pull an all-nighter to finish a paper, the better.
2. Write out important due dates
Online courses are often frontloaded with lots of information and materials to help provide more structure. Due dates are usually listed on the syllabus from the get-go, but can quickly be forgotten if you’re not paying attention. Using a planner and calendar to map out these important dates in advance will help you stay on top of your game.
3. Get involved
Sometimes it’s hard to remember you’re not the only one in the class when you’re sitting alone in front of a computer. Make a point of getting involved in discussions with your colleagues and form study groups to keep each other motivated. Ask your family and friends to check in and keep you accountable, too!
4. Ask for help
It can be intimidating to admit that you're struggling with course material, but don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Your professor or student services advisor can help get you connected with the resources you need, like our free academic coaching services .
5. Give yourself the tools to succeed
Working in front of the television with a spotty Internet connection probably isn’t the best way to focus on your studies. Find a setting where you can remain comfortable and focused, whether it’s a coffeehouse with reliable Wi-Fi or a home office. The right setting and technological materials will make it easy to do your work as efficiently as possible.