How to Get the Most out of Your Online Courses

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Online courses offer a flexible and convenient means to further your education, increase your knowledge base and advance your career. But if you want to achieve real results, you need to do all you can to get the most out of your online courses. Here’s how:

Set up your tech. Before you enroll, make certain that you’re ready for all the what-ifs that could occur when your technology is up –or down. When you’re online, take advantage of software and apps that save assignments as you go like Google Docs and Dropbox so you don’t lose your work. And if you lose power or your internet goes down, have a Plan B ready. Libraries, community centers and coffee shops offer free internet, as do many of the brick and mortar campuses from which your courses are taught.

Get in touch and stay in touch. Introduce yourself to your instructors even before your course begins  and stay in touch throughout the session. If you have questions or concerns, bring them to your teacher’s immediate attention so that small worries don’t become big problems. Get to know your peers, too. Communicate with them in required forums and in private emails. Your classmates today could be your colleagues tomorrow.

Log in every day. Make a habit of checking on your online assignments, correspondence and notifications every single day. I didn’t know about it is NOT an excuse for a missed deadline.

Sync your personal calendar with your course calendar. As soon as you get your syllabus, match your assignments and tests—and their due dates—to dates in your calendar. Segment deadlines into mini-deadlines and accomplish something every day on your way to your goal.  For example, if you have a test on Friday, give yourself a whole week to study. Not only will you be well-prepared, you’ll also discover what you don’t know long before exam day so you can find the answers beforehand.

Build a space and a schedule. Just because your course doesn’t meet on specific days and times doesn’t mean you can’t pretend that it does. Set aside the same days of the week at the same time to work on your online course materials. Create a study space that’s just for you and your online studies. Make a schedule and stick to it.

If you’re ready to get back to school but didn’t think you could fit an education into your busy schedule, online courses might be just right for you. At Charter College, we have online programs in business, healthcare, hospitality, information technology and paralegal studies. Which one is right for you?