It’s not hard to see that the COVID-19 outbreak has forced us all to make major changes in our daily lives. Companies have moved to remote work, K-12 schools have embraced distance learning, and many college students who used to be enrolled on-campus are now enrolled in online courses.
While online learning carries many positive benefits that make it the preferred choice for millions of students, it doesn’t come without its challenges–especially for students who are more familiar with in-person courses.
These seven tips are from Jonathan Small associate vice president of online education at Regis College. They will help you adjust your study habits for fully online learning.
Tips for taking online classes
1. You can look ahead to see when you have to submit your assignment.
Students who are taking online courses typically interact with the subject matter as well as their assignments using a learning management system (LMS). Regis online classes are conducted through Moodle. Other popular tools include Canvas or Blackboard.
No matter which LMS you choose, it is crucial to spend some time getting to know the interface and your assigned assignments. You can look ahead at your assigned assignments and make note of the due dates to help you create a realistic plan for how you will complete your work.
Small said that an online class is more flexible than a face-to-face class because it uses modular structures. It is often difficult to remember when work is due because you are not physically there. Students need to manage their time in online classes.
2. Take the time to study, and then work in groups.
As with other universities, students often pursue their education at Regis while also having other responsibilities. There are many things that can take up your attention: childcare, work, family obligations, internships, and so on. It is important that you have a plan that will allow you to manage all these responsibilities.
Small says that “Chunking tasks,” as I like it to be called, allows students to feel accomplished. You feel like your progress is being made. It’s also a good idea to schedule study time.
3. For group projects, communicate regularly.
Group projects and assignments are common in college courses. This holds true for online courses just as well as for in-person classes. Small explains that online courses are more effective for group projects because they bring together people face-to-face. However, in-person classes allow for groups to work together, but online learners need to be extra careful to communicate effectively.
If they want to avoid confusion, groups need to prioritize communication.
Small advises, “Find a system that works well for everyone and keep in touch with them often.”
4. Group work should be divided early.
In this vein, it is also important for groups of people to assign tasks in a way that everyone can be responsible for and that everyone knows what they are responsible for.
Small says, “When you are working in groups, make sure you plan ahead so you can split the work up and coordinate your efforts.” “This way, even if the due date is a few weeks away, everyone can make use of their free time to work on their tasks whenever they have the chance.”
5. Make contact with your professor often.
Communication is important. Just like it’s important to communicate with classmates and your group, it’s also important to communicate regularly with your professor. You should make an effort to reach out to your professor, no matter if you have questions about a project or want to tell them where you are struggling.
Small states that speaking to your instructor is crucial to your success. Do not try to solve your problems on your own. Your instructor is here to help. You can save yourself days of stress by calling your instructor for just five minutes. You’ll feel better and get clarity. This will make you more successful.
However, don’t assume that communication is only possible when something goes wrong. Your professor can help you establish a good relationship by letting you know when something is going right.
6. Participate as much and as often as possible
Participation is essential to the success of any course, online or offline. Active participation will not only show your professor that it’s engaged, but it also shows that you’re interested in learning and are willing to work hard to achieve your goals. Education is often seen as a passive process. Participation makes it an active one.
Small simply stated that the more students you are involved in, the greater the benefit you will get from your experience.
7. Be flexible
Online learning demands flexibility for both you and others in your course, including your professors.
Small says that instructors made the transition to remote teaching in a matter of days, which is the same time it took to move into online learning.
“Nobody anticipated this. Simply by being kind, compassionate, engaged in your courses, and talking with your instructor and classmates, you can recreate the campus community and make this transition as seamless as possible.
Doing the work
Although online learning may not be the best option for you, following the advice given above can help to get the most from your courses. It is important to communicate clearly with your classmates and instructors. Also, it is important to stay engaged in the course material and maintain open communication.
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