Q&A: What Can I Do to Keep Up in My Online Course?

Answer: Most learners want to be good students. Hopefully, no one goes through the trouble of registering for class, paying tuition (or taking out loans) and buying expensive textbooks with the intent to fail. Here are some great steps that should become habits in your online learning environment.

Read Your Syllabus

As soon as the class begins, you should read the syllabus thoroughly. You should review the syllabus at least 2-3 days each week. This will not only tell you what's going on the class, it's a visual cue and reminder of when your assignments are due.

Read Your Assigned Information

In most classes, there's assigned weekly readings. The first or second day of the week, read your information and take notes. The following day, go over your notes. The next day, thoroughly go over the assigned readings again and make any corrections to your notes. The following day, begin working on your assignment. This way the information is fresh in your mind and you can use your notes to assist you.

Prepare Early

Students are strongly encouraged to carefully read their assignment instructions early in the week. This way, if you need to ask for assistance and/or clarity, you can do so and the instructor has time to respond. This also shows the instructor that you take the class and your grades seriously.

Manage Your Time

Online classes can be time consuming. Most adults work full or part-time and/or have other responsibilities (i.e. spouse, children, etc.). Most online students should plan on at least an hour a day to check messages and engage in the class. More time should be set aside for assignments (2-3 hours per day). Remember, this doesn't have to be a "chunk" of time, at once. This can be 30 minutes every morning, before work, 30 minutes during your lunch hour and/or an hour in the evening. Depending on when your assignments are due, plan for 2-3 days each week, for longer hours on the computer.

The goal is for you to be a student and continue with your other responsibilities. With planning and dedication, you can become a successful online student.

Dr. Beverley BrowningDr. Beverly A. Browning (Dr. Bev) has been a higher education adjunct faculty member for over 25 years. She has taught in the classroom and online for multiple colleges and universities including Spring Arbor College, Baker College of Flint, Mott Community College, and Rio Salado College. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Spring Arbor College and Mott Community College. She is currently an online instructor for ed2go.com (Cengage Learning). In addition to founding and directing the Grant Writing Training Foundation, Dr. Bev is also Vice President of Grants Professional Services for eCivis, Inc. She is the author over over 37 grant-related publications and a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter for national and regional conferences. Dr. Bev is a product of lifelong learning and an advocate for online teaching and learning!