Top Five Insider Tips: How to Become a Successful Online Student


The days are now long gone whereby working professionals, armed with established & impressive track records and prestigious degrees, could just wander into an employment market inundated with cushy jobs. With the economy still smarting from the subprime shenanigans and the job market not exactly flooding with job prospects, more people are turning to online college education to raise their marketable value.

If you are one of the 4.6 million students currently enrolled in online learning courses (Learning on Demand: Online Education in the United States, 2009 survey by Sloan Consortium and Babson College), equipping yourself with the following learning tips and principles will help you get the most out of your online education experience and become a successful online student, whether it be for an online criminal justice degree or a special education masters degree.

1) Select the Right Program

Choosing the most appropriate online course to suit your skill set, areas of interest, and lifestyle is the first step – and often, one of the most important decisions in online education. Carry out in-depth research on the course specifics, program requirements, and the instructor’s credentials in the relevant academic or professional field. Different courses are delivered in varied formats ranging from live, real-time web casts and interactive workshops to traditional 12-week instructor-led courses at motorcycle tech schools, downloadable PDF, QuickTime, or Flash files- consider each option carefully to ensure the ideal match with your current schedule.

2) Effective Time Management

Managing and scheduling your time efficiently is the greatest ingredient for success with online learning. With other full-time commitments such as raising a family or a hectic job with long hours competing for your limited time, balancing school and personal obligations can become a juggling act.

The beauty of self-paced, online courses is the ability to schedule your studying and participation around your availability. Anticipate scheduling issues before they arise, and reserve a time slot you are most likely to be most focused on your studies-which could be as flexible as 11 p.m. at night or 5 a.m. in the morning.

3) Create an Ideal Study Environment

With all your studies taking place away from a traditional classroom setting, it is essential to designate a quiet area or zone where you can concentrate on your coursework. Some students require absolute silence to study well, while others are comfortable with some noise in the background. Wherever your preference lies, a well-lit, distraction-free environment is recommended. Whether you have an entire office or just a desk at the library, make sure that it is well organized with the supplies you need for use at any time.

4) Get Organized

It is crucial to stay organized and manage the online course workload and its schedule efficiently. Starting an online course well organized and staying organized often involves simple and effective ways to ensure that all weekly materials are completed and submitted on time.

It pays off to be familiarized with the class requirements, assignments, and deadlines, and to keep a calendar marked out with all the course deadlines. Create a checklist and have requirements and assignments checked off on it. Weekly deadlines should be alerted with reminders sent via email, mobile phone or computer software.

5) Questions? Fire Away

Never be afraid to ask questions to clarify assignments, instructions or areas of uncertainty. There are several options to seek answers – either through direct queries to your instructor in courses which provide instructor support, or online chat rooms which provide students a forum to meet one another and ask questions or discuss assignments.

Seeking answers and participating in discussions actively will help students understand the course materials more clearly and excel better with course assignments .

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