How to Succeed Taking Online Courses

How to Succeed Taking Online Courses
  • Opening Intro -

    You’ve finally decided to take an online course, perhaps supplementing your regular on-campus courses with one that you can complete at your own pace.


Online learning has been around for years and has provided many opportunities for people to get an education who might otherwise be shut out. Online courses may provide some flexibility for students, but there are some challenges that must be met too.

1. Is this course right for you? The flexibility of online study appeals to many students. Even so, students should seriously consider whether taking an a course online is the right approach or if they would be better off taking that course on campus. For some students and with certain courses, immediate interaction with their classmates and the professor is of critical importance. Neither happens quite so smoothly with courses taken online.

2. Set aside time. One challenge with online courses is setting aside enough time to take the course. Some classes are mostly at your own pace while others require students to log in regularly to listen to lectures, to interact with classmates and to complete quizzes and tests. Make sure you understand what is required of the course before signing up.

3. Get your family to support you. Taking online courses can be a challenge, especially for parents. If you have familial responsibilities, such as a spouse and children, you need computer time to access the course. If you share your computer with your family, that means explaining to your family members that you need to allot time for course access. Even if you have your own computer, finding alone time can be hard, particularly if others put demands on your time.

4. Check in from time to time. Online classes mean you do not have direct contact with your professor unless you initiate it. You watch the lectures, take notes, participate in group discussions, but feedback from your professor may be elusive. Stay in touch with your professor by email or, if the opportunity is available, place a personal call to speak with him or her.

5. Establish a schedule. To succeed taking online classes, you need to establish a schedule. It would be best to have that schedule in place before you start the class and hold yourself to it. This is especially important if the course has a specific start and end date. You don’t want to fall behind nor do you want to miss completing assignments.

6. Stay focused. An online class can benefit you in so many ways, not least by allowing you to take the course without fighting traffic to get to campus. Even so, you may find that distractions are always weighing in. When doing your coursework, avoid checking your email, surfing the Internet for non-class pursuits or performing chores while at home. Give the class your full attention and you’ll benefit by retaining more information and achieving a higher grade.

7. Start your papers early. Most likely you’ll be assigned a term paper, particularly for courses related to your major. Term papers can take a lot of time to complete. As soon as one is assigned, research the subject, find one that interests you and get it approved by the professor. Then, begin your research and draft an outline. You should set aside time regularly to work on the paper and have it completed days before the deadline. Make sure you forward it to the professor on time and in the required format.

Online Courses

Not all college students are suited to take online courses and that is okay. You may find that you do better by taking classes on campus, enjoying the interaction with your fellow students and with the instructor. For students that pursue a degree online, they have various reasons for taking that approach. Time, distance and availability are some of the reasons why online courses work best for them.

See AlsoAbout Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)


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Categories: Online Education