3 Tips For Success With Online Degree Programs

Posted on: 17 May 2018

Taking individual online classes or pursing an online degree is an ideal situation for many people who thought a college education was beyond their reach. Although the online format brings college to a wider range of people, this informal format requires diligence to be successful.

Be Realistic

Online degree programs and courses are designed for people who may not have access to a traditional college setting, such as those in rural locations, and people who might have career or family obligations that make attending the traditional classroom setting impossible. Some people erroneously believe the online format will make it easy for them to breeze through a college degree. Opting for a different format will not turn a disinterested, undisciplined student into a college graduate. For some people, the online format is harder since they need strong self-discipline to accomplish their goals.

Consider The Format

Some schools have different online formats and you might want to choose the school you attend and your classes based on the format. Many people are aware they struggle with learning information in certain ways. For example, purely text-based information might be difficult, especially if you find you need to read the same material multiple times. Some online formats might include video lectures to accompany each topic or the instructor might hold a live class each week, but the video is archived for later viewing. If given the option to enroll in a class that exclusively uses a classroom management platform or one that integrates other learning modalities, you would be more successful with your online classes if you chose the latter. Some people can make all formats of online classes work and the format may be less of a consideration.

Manage Your Time Wisely

One of the pitfalls of an online degree program is students who are procrastinators in traditional classes often face even more problems when they have more flexibility in their learning. The best way to manage your time is to develop a strategy once you receive your syllabus. Most classes require weekly readings, two or more tests, and possibly a paper or other project. Reading your course materials each week will minimize the chance of being bogged down with reading right before a test.

Many subjects have concepts that build on each other, so it is not enough to skip over material if you run out of time, because you will have to go back and understand the material at a later time. If you have a paper or other project that is due later in the semester, it is important to start brainstorming early in the semester. You might think of a topic and collect references a little at a time, so a month or so before the paper or project is due, you can start writing or creating your work. Fortunately, with word processing programs readily available, you can easily write a little at a time, even out of order, so you are not rushed at the last minute.

Online courses and degree programs make higher education accessible to almost anyone. Although the format is more accessible, you need the right strategy and determination to make the most out of an online education.