Tips for Success in Your Online Class

online class
online class lecture

Increased Popularity in Online Classes

The pandemic proved that online classes can be difficult to traverse. Between the stress of covid-19 and unfamiliarity with virtual classrooms, colleges worldwide saw a drop in overall grades over the last few years. Additionally, students reported that it impacted their performance and comfort overall. Many reported feeling frustrated, disconnected, and confused while studying online. However, some students found they preferred this route.

Indeed, just as companies see continued interest and demand for work-from-home positions, schools found a market for fully virtual programs. This interest existed before the pandemic but has grown substantially since we were sent home in 2021. As a result, many colleges have continued offering online options.

There are many benefits to studying online. Indeed, students enjoy being able to work from home, stay with their families, and maintain the lifestyle they had pre-college. Asynchronous courses allow students to study when it’s convenient for them. They no longer have to worry about missing lectures. And these classes and programs are often cheaper than the traditional alternatives.

But online college isn’t always easy to get into. Truly, it takes a great deal of intrinsic motivation. Some students stop submitting work or viewing recorded lectures without a professor and classroom to hold them accountable. Many also struggle with distractions.

6 Tips For Success in Your Online Class

You’ve probably heard some misconceptions about online classes and degrees. The courses are easy, you can cheat on tests, and employers don’t value your education. None of them hold much water.

In fact, some students struggle more with online exams than in-person ones. Most final exams have a virtual proctoring service that tracks everything from your desktop to your eye movement. In addition, there are many distractions around you, like kids and entertainment systems. Any number of things can happen in the background, but you’ll need to stay focused.

Below, we’ll go over some tips to help you take and succeed in your online program.

taking notes

1. Take Notes

People sometimes think they don’t need to take notes when attending an online class. They imagine themselves in the lecture hall with their laptop or notebook, but not when they’re at home watching their instructor’s video. However, note-taking is vital for memorization and learning. You’re more likely to remember course content if you write it down, whether you’re listening to a speech or reading from a textbook. Strikingly, using that notebook is more effective than typing it out.

Some online students will read the textbook and move straight to the chapter quiz or assignment. They may score well on that quiz since the information is fresh. But when the final exam rolls around, they struggle. Briefly looking at course material and skipping the note-taking process negatively affects your ability to remember information long-term. You may know core concepts but find yourself struggling with terminology.

Thus, you should still invest in a notepad and pencils when taking online classes. It will help you later on as you write papers, complete assignments, and take the final exams.

2. Take the Reading Seriously

Similarly, new online students sometimes think they can skim or entirely skip lesson readings. They use the internet to answer quiz questions and fill out assignment forms. As a result, they never really learn anything. Their grades don’t reflect this until they get to the midterm or final projects and exams. Notably, those assignments are worth the most and can tank your grade. You may earn an ‘A’ on those little quizzes and discussion forums and suddenly have to retake the entire class.

Online classes tend to have more reading due to how they’re set up. Students who don’t expect this may get frustrated. With less instruction time, professors will supplement lessons with resources from other experts. Sometimes, they’ll include helpful articles and studies.

Instead of skipping the reading, you should invest in better reading techniques. Undeniably, textbooks can be heavy, boring reads. Many online guides and videos can help you learn how to digest them quickly and effectively. One of the biggest tips: taking notes as you read. That way, you only need to read through the content once, saving you time later.

Basically, try not to look up the answers on Google. As you move through your degree program, the classes will become more and more specialized. As a result, the answers won’t be as readily available. You need to build critical reading skills early on, or you may pay for it later.

online class

3. Engage in the Discussions

If one stereotype is true about online classes, it would be in the abundance of discussion forums. Truly, you may run into several courses with one or more discussions every lesson from start to end. You’re not alone if you dread the weekly posts with the mandated responses to two classmates. But these forums are there for a reason.

A lot of the best ideas come from discussion. In class, you’d be talking over the material with your instructor and classmates every class period. Online, professors don’t want you to keep your ideas to yourself.

Instead of viewing these forums as a chore, try to come into them with an open mind. Respond to posts conversationally and avoid replying with the usual “I agree with what you said.” Of course, not all replies are created equal – not all classmates will put in the same effort. But you can try to learn more by talking through a confusing problem or oppositional viewpoint. And, if you have time, don’t just visit the forum once. Come back later and see who else replied and what they had to say. Not only will this process help you learn, but you may find a friend in those discussion boards.

4. Study Just as You Would for a Traditional Class

Online or traditional, many students don’t have well-formed study skills when they come to college. However, new students in online classes sometimes don’t see the need to study at all. As we said, they’ll use the internet when there isn’t a proctor. This trick may get you through a lesson quickly, but you’ll lose knowledge you’ll need for later classes or your career. Usually, students figure out how flawed this method is quickly, but it can result in wasted time and money if they have to retake a class.

Instead, you should focus on building those study skills. Utilize flashcards, self-quizzing, and other provide studying techniques. Online classes need the same level of dedication as traditional ones. Make sure you’re prepared for those final exams. Plus, these abilities will benefit you long-term, even past graduation.

5. Avoid Distractions

Truly, trying to avoid distractions is one of the hardest parts of online classes. Even if you don’t have roommates or children, there are a million things in your home begging for your attention. Phones today are designed to make you look. They beep, light up, and vibrate every time any notification comes through, even if it’s just to tell you to update an old app. And people normally don’t put it back down after swiping the message away.

When you’re in class, and your professor is lecturing you, your attention is pulled back to what’s important. You can close your book, pause the lecture, and walk away from your screen at home.

It’s vital to learn how to stay focused. Majorly, you should set aside time for your class each week. You must plan ahead for studying, reading, essay-writing, and test-taking. Generally, you should keep the same weekly schedule, as it will help you build a routine. It’s easier to stay on-task when you get into a routine.

During this time, turn notifications off, put headphones on, and use a dedicated study space. Notably, if you have kids, it’s not always easy to do so. In that case, you may consider making your study time their naptime or bedtime. You don’t need uninterrupted hours to do schoolwork. In fact, studying works better in smaller, more intensive chunks. The major times you’ll need to plan ahead for are your tests, big projects, and final exams. But these won’t happen every week.

taking notes at the laptop

6. Ask Questions and For Help

Notably, one of the biggest complaints students have about online classes is that they feel alone. Indeed, you don’t have the same level of communication with your professor or peers. But you can still reach out. Online teachers still offer office hours and respond to emails. They may even provide a phone number for you to reach out. Just like in-person classes, it’s up to you to let them know you need help.

So, send an email if you need an extension, have a question about an assignment, or just want to talk further about the content. Additionally, use those discussion forums to make conversation with your peers. And don’t forget to use university resources, too. Online colleges often have tutoring centers as well. They can help with writing and specific content.

Basically, you’re not alone when studying online. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Your instructors want you to succeed.

Final Thoughts

Lakewood University is an accredited online school that offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. We have rolling enrollments and asynchronous courses. In other words, you don’t have to worry about missing a lecture or running late to class. If you plan on enrolling in college while working, Lakewood University offers the flexibility you need to earn your degree.

Don’t hesitate – reach out to our admissions department today to learn more!