With online courses becoming more and more popular we wanted to touch on some basic tips students should consider when starting an online class. Being prepared could be what sets you apart from the other students in your cohort. Some of the things we mention could seem like common sense, but none the less, a very important part of being successful in an online course.
First and foremost, make sure you have a reliable computer available with internet access. Check with your academic advisor to see what the computer requirements are for your program. Most computers come standard with what you would need, but you want to double check. For instance, you may need the latest version or Excel or Microsoft Word. Usually the latest version of Microsoft Office will be required. As far as internet goes, make sure yours is fast and reliable. You will probably be attaching documents, doing research, and watching videos throughout the program.
Now that you are online with the latest technology, you are one step closer to succeeding in an online program. The next tip is using proper time management skills. Make sure your family/friends know you are about to start an online course. Make sure you have their support before starting a program. You can anticipate about 15-20 hours a week per class in a graduate level program. Set aside some time during the week and on weekends to allocate to the class. You will typically have to complete case studies, papers, quizzes, and group assignments.
Now that you have allotted time to complete your course it's time to brush up on your skills. Depending on what type of class you are taking, there are different refresher courses you can complete. For instance, if you are starting an online MBA course you can complete some tutorials on statistics, finance, and accounting. Or, if you know what textbooks you will be using you can buy them in advance and start studying. You can never be too prepared when starting an online class.
Finally, when classes are getting close you want to complete an orientation in whichever course platform the University uses. For instance, Marylhurst University uses Moodle while University of Oregon uses Blackboard. Your online platform will contain your assignments, syllabus, and access to contact the other students in your class and most importantly your professor. Try and master navigating through your online course room before classes begin.