How to do well in online courses
With schools starting up again, many are finding themselves in online and/or hybrid classes again, where the in-person instruction and lectures are limited to none. As I have taken both online and hybrid classes for years now, and currently in a completely online program, I thought I would share some of what I do to stay on top of my online coursework.
1. Make a plan in a calendar and give yourself extra time
By using my Passion Planner and even sometimes a weekly whiteboard calendar, I write out exactly what is due every week, and what I have to do in order to complete the assigned work. Each week I write down everything I need to read and research, and all of the quizzes, discussion boards, essays, tests, projects, and other assignments I have due that week. This helps in making sure I don't miss any assignments and that I can give myself enough time to work on what needs to be done. Whenever the due date is, I always strive to finish the assignment at least the day before, in case something happens and I need extra time.
2. Decide exactly what you will work on each day
Once I know what I need to do for the week, I assign myself work to accomplish everyday in order to reach my goal of finishing assignments at least a day before they are due. I also am mindful of the expected amount of hours to spend working on each course, which is usually provided by the college itself, or included in the syllabus. Online and hybrid courses take a lot more time at home than in-person courses, as there isn't as much, or any time spent in lectures. To really learn the material I have to put the time and effort in.
3. If there is a course syllabus, use it like a checklist
In high school I didn't have a syllabus for most of my classes, but in college, almost all of my classes have had syllabuses. I use each syllabus like a checklist as each time I complete an assignment I check it off or highlight it, so I know I have completed it. Sometimes the syllabus may change as the semester goes on, so I update it accordingly, so it stays accurate with the course schedule and expectations.
4. Focus on one week at a time, but be mindful of upcoming tests and projects
With school I only focus on one week at a time, so I don't get overwhelmed by the entire semester worth of assignments. However, using the course syllabus I will look ahead for upcoming tests and projects, and give myself time to work on and study for tests and projects during the few weeks before the actual date of the test or when the project is due.
5. Read all instructions early and email professor with questions
I usually read the instructions for all assignments very early in the week, that way if I have a question or don't understand something I can email my professor sooner than later. This gives the professor time to respond and then I still have time to work on and improve the project. By reaching out and asking for help I also tend to learn more about the topic and/or assignment and have a better understanding of what the assignment requires.
Doing well in online courses is achievable! Just put in the effort, get organized and believe in yourself!