Whether you’re a graduate student or a college freshman, knowing how to succeed in online classes can make all the difference. Understanding what to expect before you start your online courses can also help you uncover new ways of adapting your study style to fit an online format.
There’s always room to improve your study habits, and if you’re new to online classes, you may find some things are new to you.
Here are some ideas on how to succeed in online classes:
Engage early and often, and you will be successful. While you won’t have to travel to a physical classroom, you will interact with your instructor and fellow classmates on a regular basis. If you are a student enrolled in one of our online programs, there is an expectation that you will participate in your course, prepared and ready to learn.
You will not only join online discussions, but will also review videos and lectures, work on group projects, complete simulations, conduct research, and learn a lot!
So, don’t be shy; participate on day one.
Tips for Online Classes #1: Set up your computer or device to ensure you can access your classes before they begin. If you need help using Baker College’s Canvas platform, live support is available at 833-286-8929 or the IT Student Center at [email protected].
Know What To Expect—and Expect What To Know
Professors will provide a syllabus for classes to inform you of upcoming assignments, required readings and grading systems. This is the roadmap to your success.
It will be important to note when assignments are due and when exams are scheduled. Make sure you plan time in your day and week to devote the time necessary to meet these deadlines. Understanding and meeting expectations—you’re building skills that will help you in class, and when you are working in your profession. .
Tips for Online Classes #2: Read the syllabus in advance of class to ensure you have all the necessary texts and are planning ahead for assignments and tests. Always ask your professor if there is something you don’t understand.
Help Others Help You
You may notice, as an online student, that you work on assignments at a variety of times...days, evenings, weekends. Whenever you are studying, know that there are resources available to help you complete your assignments.
Being able to order, access, and request books through the Baker College library system, as an online student, is easy and necessary to your success. Use the resources available to you .
Tips for Online Classes #3: Learn how to request books and journals, and access sources online. Ask a librarian at Baker College about materials for research papers, renewing books or accessing other resources. Contact a library staff member directly at [email protected].
Budget Your Time
Time management skills help your performance in almost any career—and in life! Maintaining work-life balance comes from knowing how to budget your time wisely.
You can start by noting the amount of time it takes for you to finish a report or project. Not only will you have a clear budget of time you need to spend on assignments, it will also keep you from running out of time before the deadline.
The easiest way to do this is by using a calendar to track your schedule and deadlines, then planning out your week (or even month) by adding blocks of budgeted time for assignments.
Tips for Online Classes #4: Use your BakerMail calendar to keep track of class schedules, appointments and deadlines and add blocks of time to work on assignments in between classes.
Some of your favorite hobbies, people, and pets are also your biggest distractions from getting your assignments done. That’s why it’s important to seek out a “study space” that is quiet enough for you to read (think, “library quiet”).
You may also find that you’re much more productive and efficient at completing coursework when you can really concentrate on a subject. That’s why it’s important to take note of times throughout the day that are ideal for deeper study sessions and to use this time to your advantage.
Tips for Online Classes #5: Create a separate user profile on your computer for classwork and remove any games or programs unrelated to your studies. Don’t forget to log out of your social media profiles!
Organize Your Study Space
Have you ever been surrounded by such a mess that you couldn’t think? It’s impossible to get things done when you can’t find your homework or even your laptop. Sure, it may be easy to remedy this problem by keeping your physical workspace organized, but you’re an online student. What about organizing your virtual workspace?
One way to do this is by using online tools, such as Google Drive, to store assignments and access them anywhere (using the free document processor, spreadsheet or powerpoint tools).
Tips for Online Classes #6: Organize your assignments in folders on Google Drive so that you can access project documents anywhere. Try Momentum (browser extension) to create a daily “To Do list and keep your assignments on track.
Participate & Ask Questions
Don’t just participate for the sake of meeting the engagement requirements—use the forum to your advantage. Just as you would in a physical classroom, it’s important to use discussions as an opportunity to clarify anything you may have questions about.
It’s also important that you communicate with your instructor. Baker College has small class sizes, which means your instructors know who you are and can offer you assistance.
Tips for Online Classes #7: If you aren’t sure about something, would like additional academic support, or want to discuss topics, reach out to your professor. They want to help you succeed.
Network with Peers
Use any group discussion or project as an opportunity to connect with your classmates. Building relationships with your peers will allow you to discuss topics, study for tests as a group, and find encouragement and motivation.
Not only this, but keeping in touch with a network of friends from college can have lasting benefits, from keeping you current in your industry to helping you find job placement opportunities.
Tips for Online Classes #8: Make friends with your classmates. Add friends from your online classes to your network and stay in touch.
Take Learning Into Your Own Hands
If you have your own unique learning style, it’s time to use it. Some students are visual learners who would benefit from seeing a diagram or watching a documentary about a subject.
Some students prefer reading and writing, and could find a bestselling book that helps them with a research paper. Some students prefer listening and discussing, and could watch a TED Talk about a problem or discuss it with an expert, classmate, or the professor.
Knowing your learning style can help guide your study habits and better succeed with online classes.
Tips for Online Classes #9: Find resources in your preferred learning medium. If you’re unsure whether something is a good resource for a subject, ask your professor.
Speak Up if You’re Having Problems
It’s important to communicate with your professors, but sometimes you need more help than just one conversation. Academic assistance is available to online students. In fact, we have a team of personnel who can help point you in the right direction.
If you’re an online student who would like to request tutoring, Baker College offers both synchronous and asynchronous tutoring services.