Not long ago I took an online Continuing Education Unit on technical writing from a college offering the six week course over the internet. I started out very well, but by the second week began to fall into “I’ll get to it later” syndrome. By the time I managed to get finished with email to friends and a few games of Bejeweled I would notice the lesson waiting on my account site was supposed to have been opened by yesterday. Not good. After a couple very apologetic emails, I learned that even though getting a college degree with online courses might be more flexible there are still requirements to be met. Everyone taking a course through the internet as part of the college degree should know how to study effectively online.
The best strategy is to make a class time for yourself. Even though it’s your time, there still should be some structure to the study habits. Pick a time each day to sign onto your account or class site and check email, look for assignments and communicate with the teachers. By having a “class time” you will be disciplined enough not to let too much time go by or miss something important. You never want to get so caught up in going about the other things in life you forget that you are in college.
Even though the bulk of your learning and activity will happen on your computer, you should treat this class like any other that you would take while getting a college degree. Buy a notebook or folder to keep all your materials or notes in. We learn better by writing so take notes of the things you see or hear onscreen, especially of you are listening to an audio-streamed lecture. Treat this lecture just as you would in a college class. Listen for detail and jot down any questions you may have.
Effective online habits come through practice and perspective. You might be at home with a computer full of games and friends, but technically, you’re still in school.
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