Succeeding in Online Classes

Succeeding in Online Classes

Tips for Acing Virtual Courses

When I was in college -- which wasn't too long ago -- the business school offered many of its entry-level courses through the campus television station. I'd sit in my dorm room and watch a microeconomics or marketing lecture, dilligently taking notes from the comfort of my bed. Virtual courses have come a long way since then, with many traditional brick-and-mortar schools offering online degrees, allowing students to earn a degree without ever visiting campus. In fact, I earned a graduate degree from one of the largest schools in the nation without ever taking a class on campus. All of my courses were online.

Online courses, whether you are participating in an online program or just signed up for an online course this semester, require a lot of focus. You might push your online class to the back of your to-do list since you don't physically have to go to class every week. But, doing so is a risky move. Online courses require significant out-of-class work to make up for the time saved by not going to class. Here are some tips for success in online courses.

  • Stay on schedule. Just because you don't have to attend class doesn't mean you don't have work related to your online course. Check the syllabus weekly, and stay up to date on your assignments. It's easy to get behind in online classes, and doing so can seriously affect your grade.
  • Participate virtually. Many online courses include class discussion boards, and many professors expect you to participate. This online interaction replaces the discussions you would have in class, so they are essential. Chime in on the class message board to show your professor that you're involved.
  • Get to know your professor. You might not sit in class with your professor weekly, but that doesn't mean he or she has to be a stranger. Email your professor with questions. Attend office hours. Putting a name to your face will improve your relationship with your professor and could help your grade as well.