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How to Succeed in Your Online Course

Online courses are revolutionizing our education system, but that doesn’t mean they are free of typical pitfalls students face in the classroom. As you prepare to take an online course, whether it’s for fun or for academic reasons, make sure you avoid these common mistakes.

Time Management

This challenge comes first because it is arguably the most significant of them all. With an online course, you are your own motivator. Students often pile an online course on top of an already busy schedule of school or work, and it’s very tempting to procrastinate an online course that doesn’t have an attendance policy.

Avoid it! Designate a consistent time window in your schedule (daily, every other night, weekly, etc) to watch your lectures and do your assignments. If you wait until you have free time, something will inevitably come up and kick your coursework down the road until it all piles up.

Student interaction

Many online courses provide opportunities for students to interact with one another, but this is often a neglected benefit of online courses. Remember, you are in a virtual classroom with individuals all over the world with extraordinarily diverse backgrounds. Focusing on your own experience and assignments defeats the purpose of this vast resource.

Avoid it! Don’t be satisfied by meeting the bare minimum requirements to pass the course. See what other students have to say on the discussion boards, or provide your thoughts on solutions or lectures. If you got the right answer, maybe someone else arrived at the same solution in a simpler strategy. Learning occurs anywhere, including lectures and student interactions!

Sticking to what works

If you want to brush up on your calculus, you have a lot of options out there. Many students fail to “shop around” before choosing a course because they tend to stick to one online education website. This narrow point-of-view neglects a lot of opportunities! Do you want an overall review of the course or do you want to learn how to apply these concepts to your specific career field? Different organizations bring different approaches to even the most foundational subjects, so make sure that your course meets your expectations and goals.

Avoid it! Reading the pre-requisites carefully will help you decide if this course is appropriate for your skill level and course expectations.