Taking online courses is not the same as taking a face to face class. Even though you may have taken traditional classes for many years, the online environment has different expectations and different opportunities which can be missed by the uninformed. This article provides 7 strategies to help every student start off on the right virtual foot.

Strategy 1 Determine Requirements. Before signing up for an online course, find out what is expected in terms of participation, work, and hours online. Also make sure you have the necessary technology equipment to fully participate. Based on this information, you can make an informed decision and commitment to online learning. Your program, school or company should provide this information in writing for you.

Strategy 2 Make a Plan. Once you have your syllabus our course outline, note your schedule of assignment deadlines in your current or NEW calendar. (If you don’t use one already, Google calendar is a wonderful online tool that complements this online learning experience.) ALSO, schedule in your times to sit at the computer and sign into your class and do work. The most successful online learners schedule these times as appointments in their weekly calendars rather than leaving it up to just finding a convenient time.

Strategy 3 Stick To It or Modify It Till It Fits. It is unlikely your schedule/plan will work perfectly form the very start. Success is discovered as you adjust the plan to meet your real life learning needs and competing demands. Document what really is needed and what is available. Now you have a realistic plan, to which you may hold yourself accountable.

Strategy 4 Participate Frequently. Sign in more than once  a course in miracles  per week. Participate frequently and you will recoup much more for your time and money, because you are more fully involved in your studies. Making the learning experience your focus of attention several times a week means much greater learning than only giving it a few minutes once a week. Focus, saturation, or concentration, whatever you want to think of it as– it works and you have control over making it happen!

Strategy 5 Seek Support ASAP. When something does not work in your online class (technical problem) or something is missing (a link or a file), contact the responsible people immediately. The longer you wait, the further you fall behind. Online learning is about initiative: You have control over resolving the problems!


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