7 Golden Rules of Taking Online Classes – The Keys to Success

Online education is revolutionizing the way we look at education and more students than ever are enrolling in online courses and improving their careers.  Online learning offers a wide range of benefits that traditional learning can’t offer, but it also offers some unique challenges that need to be considered.  There are certain ways to ensure that you have the greatest level of success when you enroll in online classes, and chief among them is that you understand the things you can do to have success.  There are obviously few concrete, school enforced rules – although the ones that exist are important to follow – but you’ll want to follow your own rules to succeed.  There are really seven golden rules worth remembering when you’re taking online courses, no matter what school you’re enrolled in.

  1. Stick with the Syllabus – While online education allows students to participate at their own pace and in their own schedule, your instructor will still set up a syllabus at the beginning of the semester.  You need to try to stick with the schedule laid out within it as best you can or else you run the risk of falling behind.  Schedules are more relaxed, but you still need to apply yourself properly.
  2. Participate – There will be occasions where you’re actually involved in a live classroom setting online.  At the very least you’ll have access to the class message boards.  Don’t just sit stagnant during your education – participate in the discussions that are going on and don’t be afraid to reach out with questions to your fellow students.
  3. Communicate – Similar to number 2, this rule simply means that you need to remember that just because you don’t see your instructor on a daily basis that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them.  Use the communication tools provided by the school and start up a dialogue between yourself and your instructor.  This way you’ll be able to ensure you fully understand any subject.
  4. Mind your Etiquette – Just as there are etiquette rules in a campus class, there are etiquette rules online as well.  Learn what they are for your school and follow them.  Avoiding rude language, using well written messages, and similar rules are important to follow and will have a bearing on your overall education experience.
  5. Study – It’s easy to overlook this one.  You absolutely must set aside time in your schedule to study each and every day.  If you don’t you’ll run the risk of failing your class outright.  Just because you’re in an online program doesn’t mean that you can just ignore all of your schooling except for an hour each week.  You still need to work hard at it.
  6. Don’t Stress Out – Online hiccups do happen, and other issues may arise as well.  If problems with your online connection or some other aspect of your life are giving you pause, just send an email to your instructor and let them know.  You’ll be amazed at how much that can accomplish.  And don’t constantly stress over every assignment.  With all the tools out there today you will be able to get through even the ones that are giving you the most trouble.  Stress causes a lot of people to give up on their education – don’t be one of them.
  7. Don’t Get Distracted – It’s easy when you’re taking online classes to let yourself get distracted checking email or Twitter or Facebook.  Simply put, don’t do it.  Your study time needs to focus solely on studying.  There are programs that actually block certain sites for certain periods of time, and if you simply can’t make yourself stop looking at your Facebook page then consider utilizing one of them.