How To Benefit From Distance Learning

A new trend in education is online or distance learning programs. There are many advantages and disadvantages of online learning that must be considered before you enroll. Once you have enrolled, here are some steps you can take to get the most out of your online education.

  1. Be as organized as possible. Since most of the online classes are essentially self-directed with a little guidance from a professor, you must be organized in order to get everything done on deadline. Figure out a filing system that works for you to store your print-outs. Also make sure your electronic files are organized for easy access at a later time. Try creating folders for each class you are taking and name the folders the same name as your course. That way, you can easily go back and find a research paper or essay you wrote for a previous class if you need it in a subsequent class.

  • Keep a calendar with due dates. Your professor most likely isn't going to remind you of due dates or ask when something is late. When you get your course syllabus, immediately write important due dates or online meetings to remember on a calendar, or program them into your computer's date book program if you have one. This will keep the due dates within view and help cut back on procrastination.
  • Order needed class materials at the earliest time possible. If your class requires you to have a textbook, order it as soon as possible. You need to remember there will be shipping time involved, and if you don't order your book right away, you may not get it in time. Most classes are only about six weeks long, so a week without a book may be a huge problem.
  • Ask for help if you need it. Your classmates and professor will most likely be very accommodating to your questions. Especially if you are having technical issues, it is important to ask right away so you don't miss a deadline. Posting a message on the message board or emailing someone directly may even get you an answer sooner than if you had to wait for a class meeting.
  • Work hard. Just because you do not have to show up for a class doesn't mean this will be a piece of cake. You will still need to study, research and get everything done on time in order to succeed. Often you will need to work in groups and nothing is worse than a group member who doesn't pull his or her weight. Remember, you are taking these classes for a reason. You will need to be able to apply what you learn eventually, so if you don't work hard enough to understand the material, most likely the experience will be a waste of your time and money.

  • You will not be simply handed your degree--it takes work and determination to get the most out of your online education. Keep working and you will finish your program before you know it!


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