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August 6th, 2020

How to Adapt to Online Learning

Times are changing and so is our education system. As you may have noticed, many college institutions are adapting to having more students take online courses. This isn’t just a change for the teachers but the students as well. Many students might be worried about this dramatic shift in how most classes are taught and how they can adapt. Below we have outlined some tips to help students adjust to online learning.

Get to know your professors
With most online courses, your professor will start the semester by communicating with you about how your course will be structured and your participation requirements. Even though it may be tempting to fly under the radar, you won’t be taking advantage of the access you have to your professors. Start by sending a personal email to each of your professors at the start. Introduce yourself and let them know how excited you are for their class. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if it’s outside of class time. The important thing is to open up communication.

Know the expectations
For many students, the challenges of self-motivation and time-management can make online college difficult. Most courses will either be synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous courses are given at a specific time, meaning they require you to login with the rest of your classmates. Asynchronous courses are where you are provided with the materials and asked to learn at your own pace. No matter the method used, be sure you understand your course expectations and hold yourself responsible for your work. Your instructor will also be holding you accountable for the work you do in your online course. Be sure the expectations are clear and ask questions if you are confused.

Establish a functional workspace
One of the best things you can do for yourself when taking an online course is setting up a dedicated learning environment. Make sure to find a space that lends itself to higher productivity and fewer distractions. Having a high-speed internet connection can be extremely beneficial. If you have to go to a public space, bring a pair of headphones to listen to lectures or discussions. Everybody works and thrives in different environments. The point is, you need to find a space that is compatible with your unique learning style.

Learn how to use your equipment
Learning how to use your computer properly is very important as it is the primary source of your learning experience when taking online courses. Familiarize yourself with any chat boards, file-sharing programs, video-conferencing software, or required library portals—record due dates on your calendar and bookmark websites that you’ll use often. If your computer or internet connection is not up to speed, it could cause problems. Be sure that everything is working and up to date to make your life easier.

Manage your time wisely
If you are taking a course that is asynchronous, it may be challenging to adapt to not having class at a specific time. That said, it doesn’t mean that you should plan on completing all the work right before the course deadline. A considerable part of online courses is time-management. As with traditional courses, you will need to set time aside to study and complete all of your assignments prior to class time. Make sure you are attending any live lectures, group meetings or discussions that you need to. It can be helpful to follow your syllabus and be active in discussions, so you don’t miss deadlines or due dates.
Armed with these helpful tips, any student should be able to take on their online courses confidently. For more information on this topic, be sure to check out your school’s website or reach out to your professors for additional tips to succeeding in your classes.