Without doubt, the biggest problem for online students is procrastination. While you still have deadlines and specific schedules to adhere to, at the same time, many students have indicated that they have trouble with getting down to the assignments and the required reading. Even for the most motivated and enthusiastic individuals, knuckling down and completing required tasks can be irritating.
To be honest, one of the root problems, although most students don’t identify this issue, is the fact that many are just plain overwhelmed. They may be taking several courses concurrently, but don’t know how to allocate their time effectively. Full-time students in a physical classroom setting may take as many as five or six courses at once, but they have the professor or instructor prodding them on everyday. Plus, with others sitting next to them, it is easy to be reminded of deadlines when they are speaking amongst themselves.
We started to think about ways to overcome the procrastination, regardless of the reason for it and we compiled five success strategies for learning while taking online courses.
Success Strategy #1 – Read the Syllabus
If you have already taken any college or university courses, you know the syllabus is the course outline you receive the very first day of classes. This document is invaluable to you getting the most out of your education and also to receiving an excellent grade in a course. In effect, it is your map to the course. It has all the instructions, requirements, expectations, deadlines and grading guidelines.
Success Strategy #2 – Plot Out Specific Study Times
What we mean here is specific times to do specific tasks. If you just blank out time for school on your calendar, you probably won’t complete much. For all intents and purposes, you will still be just as overwhelmed as if you hadn’t put school in your day planner.
Instead, you want to set a pattern that you get accustomed to and that will become a habit without thinking. So for example, on Thursday evenings, you read the chapters, or on Monday mornings, you do the assignments. By writing down in your calendar exactly what you are supposed to do, you will be more inclined to do it than blocking out time school in general.
Success Strategy #3 – Log Into Course Areas
It seems rather obvious that if you are taking an online course, you would stay connected by logging into the course area, but incredibly many students neglect this task to their detriment. Be sure to log into the homepage, the discussion area, or wherever the instructor has set up for the class.
Regular updates from these areas are important, so that you don’t miss what others are saying. And understand that when we say “regular”, we don’t mean weekly. At the very least three times per week, but once a day will be quite beneficial. If you can log into your social media accounts several times per day, you can afford the time to get better grades by checking in on daily basis to your classes. Remember, too, that online participation may be a course requirement, so get in the habit with all your classes whether it contributes to your grade or not.
Success Strategy #4 – Ask Questions
Be sure to take advantage of the support services available to you. If you don’t understand a concept or what is required, talk to the instructor early on.
Success Strategy #5 – Stay Connected with Classmates
Build a community for learning. Sometimes, it really helps to ask others questions or to hear other perspectives. Regardless of whether you are required to work in study groups or complete group assignments, try to stay connected with others and make your own groups to help each other and receive added encouragement.
Here are a few psychological strategies, from Samford University in Alabama, that can help you.