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Make the Grade in Your Online Course

When starting a course online, many students feel it will be easier than going to a physical classroom; however, this is typically not the case. The flexibility these courses offer is great, but they require self-discipline and motivation!

Using a calendar for your online course will help you to visualize everything you need to accomplish and when it needs to be accomplished.  Despite the fact that there is no set schedule required for students, those who set a weekly schedule dedicating specific class time to the online course are more successful.  Set aside six hours per week for each online course.  Break this up into 2 hour sessions and then select days and times when you are typically available to participate in the online course.  Add these days and times to your course calendar.  Make a commitment to stick to your schedule in the same way you would if you had to attend a live class. 

Print and thoroughly read the syllabus.  Add discussion posting dates as well as paper and assignment deadlines to your course calendar.   Break down the work you need to put in to completing each assignment and calculate the amount of time needed to complete each task in order to finish your work on time.  A project calculator can be a good starting point if you are having trouble deciding how much time you will need for each assignment.  Add this projected time to your calendar.  It is always better to schedule more time than you need rather than less time.

  • Now that you have created a successful framework for your course, it is time to do the work.  Always read the required materials.  This is very important because you do not have the in-class time to learn about concepts, ask questions, and assure you understand the materials.
  • Keep in contact with your professor and if possible the other students taking the course.  Regularly email your professor questions and clarifications on what you are learning.  This will not only help you with understanding and retaining the information, but will allow the professor to learn your name and provide a connection that you would not otherwise have.
  •  Set reminders to participate in discussion.  Discussions count as your in-class participation and are an important part of your grade.  Be sure to put real thought into what your write to create quality posts.  Discussion posts should be your educated perspective on the assigned topic with reference to the required material.    

Stick with the schedule that you set for yourself and when possible work ahead.  Life happens and things always come up. If you have worked ahead, a sick day in bed or an impromptu gathering with friends will not set you back.   Staying on task and working ahead will make certain that you have assignments completed on time.

With a little planning, dedication and self-motivation, you can make the grade in your online course!

Points to remember:

Use a Course Calendar 

                Schedule specific weekly online time

                Add discussion dates

                Add assignment deadlines

                Add project calculated times

Do the Work

                Stick to your schedule

Read the required text

                Email and connect with your professor

                Post meaningful discussions

                Work ahead when possible

                Submit assignments on time