4 Focus Points For Learning On The Go
July 24, 2013
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Got online on your mind this summer?
As an online student, it can be difficult to learn on the go. Squeezing study time in between your other responsibilities, such as work and family, might not be working and you might be realizing you need more time for you studies. Whether you are taking summer classes or getting ready to go back for fall semester, consider these four focus points for learning on the go:
The most important focus point when learning on the go is yourself. In his study of online education, Alan R. Roper of Educause reports that without direct physical contact and interaction with other students, many online students lose interest or motivation.
You might have noticed this about yourself. If you have taken courses at a traditional brick-and-mortar school, this can be a difficult adjustment for you. Much of your work online is done independently – and you must develop personal techniques for staying engaged and motivated.
Students in Roper’s study reported finding motivation in earning a good grade and in setting personal goals. Consider creating an incentive plan or setting incremental goals for yourself to maintain your motivation.
Though you may never meet your instructor in person, Kelsey Sheehy of US News recommends using applications such as Google Hangouts or Skype to communicate with instructors and make a good impression.
Using these types of apps allow you to communicate with your instructors in a different way than email. You can show your instructor who you are as a student, what you hope to gain from the course and what your goals are.
Remember to reach out to your instructors when you are struggling as well. The instructor can provide you with studying tips, additional resources or put you into contact with another student in your course who could help you.
Sheehy also recommends checking your technology when preparing for your online class. Some classes may require certain software or hardware programs. Without the necessary programs, you cannot do your homework or study – which might through a tight schedule off balance.
Remember to keep the software on your laptop or your tablet updated. Running regular scans for viruses and backing up your documents are good habits for using technology and learning on the go.
If you are required to travel while you are taking an online class, double-check your technology. Not only make sure that you have the right programs, but make sure you pack everything you need – including laptop chargers, portable hard drives or anything else you use on a daily basis.
In some situations, you can rely on your smart phone to access lectures, coursework and resources, notes David Handlos of the Get Educated blog.
Sheehy reports that online classes are so flexible that finding time for them is actually more difficult. Staying on top of online course loads “requires discipline, commitment and organization.”
As an online student, you do not have in-person reminders of upcoming due dates. Instead, you have the distractions of a job, a family and other at-home activities. Managing your time is the only way you can ensure everything gets done. Try these three steps to getting a time-management strategy in place:
- Make a plan: Using a planner or calendar, mark down all of your due dates from your syllabus at the beginning of the semester. Also, schedule study times for you courses throughout the week. Stick to this schedule.
- Check in daily: Make sure you visit your course site and check your email at least once a day.
- Look ahead: Know what is due next week – and the week after that. It can also be helpful to know if the dates of these projects conflict with any family activities, birthdays or holidays.
Time management is essential for on-the-go students. Without it, you can become disorganized and feel overwhelmed. Focusing on making time for your studies – as well as on managing yourself, working with your instructor and updating your technology – may keep you ahead of the curve this semester.
For more tips for online students, check out the Student Buzz at IADT.