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Jul 14, 2011

Advice For Online Learners

The subject of what makes for a successful online learning experience is one we've addressed in a number of posts here on the Go 2 College Free blog. It's definitely one that is worthy of further reflection.  Today's post is more of the same but from the perseptive of blogger Joshua Kim.

In a recent Inside Higher Ed article entitled "Your Advice For Online Learners," Kim talks about the main things students should keep in mind when they decide to take an online class or a hybrid class (which blends online and face-to-face formats).  Specifically, he highlights 7 Keys To Success for online learners. Below you can find a thumbnail sketch of each Key.
1.  Make a schedule.  Kim observes that most online courses require a significant amount of hourly work each week and that, as such, it is important to distribute this workload evenly throughout the week as opposed to cramming on the weekend (tempting as it may seem).  "Block out time," writes Kim, "that you reserve each day devoted to your online course." 

2.  Collaboration is key.  According to Kim, the success of an online course depends largely on the quality of feedback and participation of the course's students. "Strive to be present," says Kim, "and involved in the online environment."  Students will take from the class only as much as they put in. 

3.  Don't be perfect.  At first glance this key to success might sound a bit counterintuitive.  Here, Kim simply recommends that we should priviledge getting work done and submitting it in a timely manner over submitting work late because we're trying to get it done flawlessly.

4.  Demonstrate leadership and teamwork skills.  A common, but true, piece of advice.  "Leadership," writes Kim, "is about doing whatever you can to make the course and program successful for everyone." The Golden Rule reiterated.

5.  Be flexible and positive.  Kim observes that taking an online course is a marathon, not a sprint.  It's important to pace yourself and to remain calm if you experience barriers along the way (like a computer crashing or any other technology failure - it's bound to happen eventually).    

6.  Proactively communicate.  Similar to Key number 2.  Here, Kim recommends communicating proactively with the course instructor and fellow online students, especially if you have a question or are unclear on the requirements of an assignment or project.
7.  Enjoy yourself.   Sometimes we get so bogged down with assignments and stressed out that we lose sight of the bigger picture.  Keep in mind, urges Kim, that the ability and opportunity to partcipate in higher education is a gift.  We're bettering ourselves.  (There's also the fact that online courses allow students to learn from the comfort of home on their own timetable - enjoy it!).