College students who get credit for going to school online are in a different situation than those who physically attend college. Communication is quite different online, and since there isn’t an actual classroom environment, special steps must be taken to make learning as efficient as possible online.
Learn to Read
Your communication will consist of doing a lot of reading online. You will have to read the material, read your teacher’s instructions, and read discussions between students. You have to be ready to put your thoughts in words and interpret the thoughts others. You will not have the advantage of hearing what others are saying, so your reading skills need to be up to par.
Reading without knowing the writer’s emotion is difficult too. You will have to interpret through the words, what the writer is feeling. You can’t detect sarcasm or other emotions through words alone, so learning to interpret these words is important.
Rely on Yourself
In an online learning environment, you cannot rely on the teacher alone to do the teaching. You need to rely on yourself to learn and retain the information that the teacher provides to you. You are more in charge of your education than anybody else.
One advantage of online learning is that you can participate as much or as little as you want. Your grade may suffer, but you are given the choice. Participating more in an online class than you would in a physical class is helpful because it sometimes requires this extra communication to further understand somebody’s point. Asking questions and responding to questions that your classmates have will help you reinforce the information that you need to retain.
In order to continue to reinforce information presented in class, it’s important to re-read the material and discussions. Your teacher will provide you with the material you need to learn, but they don’t have the advantage of teaching it to you.
Time management is extremely important when attending any type of school. Setting a schedule to study or even participate in the class discussions can help you stick to the schedule. There’s no set time that you need to be in class, so you have to be in charge of making yourself go to class online. Making the right choices is vital to you getting a good grade.
Print it out!
Printing out the material that is most important is a good idea. If you don’t, you will have to do all your reading on a computer screen, and that can be difficult and tiring. You can also take your work other places to read if that’s more effective for you. Being able to read the material is the most important thing.
Also, if you have your work printed out for you, you can refer back to it later more easily! Highlighting the most important aspects is the best idea.
If you have an assignment that you really need help with, don’t feel afraid to do some research outside of class! Find outside information to support your opinions in online discussions. Look for more information to help you answer questions or to prove your points. If you don’t understand something, it’s okay to get help!
…but not too much!
If you use another source to answer a question or for use in an assignment, make sure that you cite your sources! You don’t want to be accused of cheating, and you don’t want to cheat!
Helping others is a great way to build a good reputation in your class and to even help you teach yourself. When you encourage somebody else to provide more information, or you give them more information, you are reinforcing your own learning!
Think before you speak
Think about what you are saying before you actually say it. You don’t want somebody in your class to misinterpret what you are saying. You might be saying something sarcastically, but the other people in your class don’t know that because they can’t tell from your words alone! If you decide to be sarcastic, make sure you put a note before or after your words so that nobody misses your point! You don’t want to offend somebody or hurt their feelings!
There are tons of other ways to make your online learning experience as pleasant and effective as possible, but these are some points to consider the next time you go to class!