Online Classes: 6 Missteps Almost Everyone Makes When Taking Them
Online classes can be a burden for those who are juggling their time between work, family, and personal obligations. It is not surprising that online students make mistakes. All of us have been in a situation where we were stressed about something and neglected something important. In these times of stress, we tend to do things we would normally not do. Since online classes require you to be focused and in the moment, it is no wonder that you may fall behind on classwork.
In the following article, we’ll be discussing the mistakes that students make in online classes at length. If you have one or more coming up on your fall schedule, or if you’re going through one right now, you’ll want to be especially mindful. Let’s begin!
1. Wasting Time
Managing time is one of the most important skills for individuals in both traditional and online classrooms. This is especially true as a result of the wide array of tools available to students today, including mobile devices and social networking. In addition to the new tools and technology, there are the facilities that come from a traditional classroom. With more students interacting with each other online than ever before, it is imperative that you take advantage of group projects and discussions to help promote student learning.
You can use much of what you learn from communicating in and outside of traditional classroom settings for online courses as well. Stay plugged into upcoming projects, use scheduling apps/software, leverage the cloud so you can make updates anytime, anywhere. Work hard at time management, and you’ll master the demands that online classes place on you.
2. Disregarding Location
Thinking location does not matter is a common myth that can easily be debunked. In this age of the Internet, location is just as important as ever when working on an online class. It matters where you work and when you work on it.
Online classes are harder to comprehend because independent study and taking responsibility are required. This puts you in a position where you’re likely to have more need for help or getting answers to questions. There’s also the matter of an Internet connection. Online classes are often multimedia experiences, and they require enough bandwidth to operate the class materials.
3. Underestimating the Toughness
Online courses are not necessarily going to be easier. You cover the same stuff. You just do so without as much easy access to help. Some courses may require more reading than you’d do in an in-person class. This means that online classes can be harder when you stumble.
Where you might be able to lean over and ask a friend to help you with something in traditional coursework, here you have to rely on chat programs, scheduling, and email. It’s no picnic, but it can be beneficial if you’re good at self-motivation and staying on-task.
4. Lack of Participation
This is an especially important point for students who are struggling to stay on top of their coursework. A little extra help won’t bury you, but it can help you avoid feeling “in the dark” when it comes to the material. If you’re worried that you’re falling behind, bring up your concerns outside of class with your professor.
Also, reach out to some of your “smarter” classmates, who can help you through. Otherwise, you’re guilty of not participating, and the longer you go, the harder it will be to pull yourself out of the pit. Ask questions, make notes, read texts, watch videos. You’ll find that everything you need to ace your class is right there at your fingertips, but it’s not going to work itself out for you.
5. Becoming an Online Hermit
The most important advantage of studying with your peers is that you can share many of your mistakes and struggles. You can learn from everyone’s mistakes so you won’t have to repeat them all by yourself. And when you are in a stage of psychological development equal to or about where your peers are, you can easily share strategies for solving problems.
In fact, some of your peers might be better at “teaching” your class to you than your professor. (And vice versa.) That’s not a knock on anyone. Just the reality that things seem to resonate with more clarity when they’re filtered through a shared experience. When you cut yourself off from that in an online class, it doesn’t have a chance to shine through. It reemphasizes the point that you’re truly on your own.
6. Ignoring Basic Housekeeping and Etiquette
Whole studies can be conducted on the way that learning online is affecting our ability to pick up certain things about language. When communicating online, either formally or informally, it’s very much possible for Internet shorthand and slang to work its way into our lives. If you’re using emojis in assignments, you might have a problem!
There are other things that can damage your ability to excel in an online class. Mainly, things that have to do with exercising basic respect for your teacher and the rules of the classroom. Actions like logging out before the end of the instruction period (if you’re doing it live), being late for instruction or always relying on the replay to see you through, and assuming that your instructor isn’t there to help you in-person just because he or she is an avatar on a screen.
Staying aware of major due dates, trying to participate in class discussions, and scheduling at least one sit-down with your professor per semester will help you avoid the malaise. It will also enable you to find success.
Online Classes Offer Convenience With Responsibility
Online studies are a great option for people who like to study at their own pace, who are able to work independently and who are self motivated. Here are some closing tips for how to get the most out of your online classes:
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
- Take notes by hand.
- Remind yourself why you’re taking the class.
- Try to find people in the class with similar interests with whom you can form study groups.
- Try to find an expert in the subject and go to them for help.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Know the difference between participation and collaboration.
- Show up to your computer ready to learn.
Best of luck as you resume your online classes. What are some tips that have helped you to excel at them that you wouldn’t mind adding to this list?
[Featured Image by Inside Higher Ed, Creative Commons]