7 Tips for Online Studying

student-849825_640In the 21st century, not every lesson takes place in a traditional classroom. More and more students are turning to online courses to help them obtain degrees or qualify for jobs, and if you’re one of them, you could probably use a few tips for success. Here are just seven ways to improve your studying efforts as an online learner.

1. Look at the Syllabus

Online courses usually have syllabi just like regular classes. They might detail everything from test schedules to grading scales, so they’re worth checking out. Not only will they prepare you for what’s ahead, but they can also give you a chance to email the instructor about deadlines, book lists or virtual attendance policies.

2. Stay Organized

Digital documents are a bit harder to lose than paper ones since computers come with search engines, but it’s still possible under the right circumstances. You might forget what you’ve named a file or corrupted an image with the wrong save format. Do yourself a favor and stay organized with your online coursework. Keep everything related to the class in a clearly-labelled folder.

3. Know Your Tools

Your first day of school should be spent playing around with the software of your virtual course. It might have different tools, applications and learning programs depending on its platform and class type, and you don’t want to discover that you don’t know how to submit your finished quiz when there are only five minutes left on the clock.

4. Back It Up

Make a habit of backing up your work as an online learner. Save it regularly; email it to yourself; upload it to the cloud; stash extra copies on external hard drives. It only takes one accidental mouse click to delete everything that you’ve done, and you’ll be furious if you lose a seven-page essay just because your laptop got jostled.

5. Eliminate Distractions

One of the dangers of online study is that it’s easy to have your attention pulled away by other browser tabs or social media notifications. Try to anticipate this in advance by disallowing pop-ups, putting text alerts on silent and moving your bookmarks to a place where they won’t catch your eye and lure you into temptation.

6. Create A Schedule

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that online classes will be a breeze. They often require just as much reading, writing and researching as a traditional class; it’s just that you get to create your own schedule for these things. A good rule of thumb is to treat it like a regular class with a set time and place. For example, you might study every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in your dorm room at 3PM.

7. Reach Out

Does your online course have a forum or chatroom? Is there a student support network available through the school? You’re probably not the only one struggling with your online workload, so don’t be embarrassed if you could use a little help. Even if it’s just crowdsourcing an answer to question number five, you might feel a lot less isolated with other students on your screen.

These are just a few tips for studying in the digital realm. Whether you’re seeking an online masters in accounting or a simple certificate in typing, let these tips help you achieve your goals.