Every day more people discover the benefits of getting a degree online. The idea of studying anytime, anywhere, and any way you like sounds appealing to anyone. The problem is that many people accept the challenge without thinking that this type of study, which appears to be easier than the face-to-face modality, requires the development of study skills and habits to get the most out of it.
1. Manage your time
Since distance education does not require classroom attendance at a certain day and time, creating strategies to effectively manage time is vital and will help you keep up with your classes.
Set a schedule for doing assignments, answering messages, reading new material, and studying, among other tasks. Do not overburden your calendar so that you are motivated to complete the proposed tasks. Also include time to relax your mind and body so that you can focus better while studying. If you want to be even more proactive with time management, check out the course’s topic guide to know when you will need to spend more time on the class, such as when you have to deliver a written report or perform investigative work.
2. Keep motivated
At the beginning of the term, many begin with a desire to conquer the world. Nearing midterm, motivation may diminish and some even end up leaving the course. A good source of motivation always comes from visualizing yourself reaching your goal. This may be your graduation, getting that job you want so much, or simply passing the course with good marks.
3. Use the discussion forums
Your success as an online student depends greatly on this point. Actively participating in discussion forums gives you the opportunity to further discuss issues related to the course, resulting in their better understanding. Answer as many messages as you can, but be sure to write responses that promote the discussion of the subject matter.
Also use the forums to ask any questions you want to ask. Never think that a question is too obvious or that you will be made fun of if you ask a question. Your priority is to make every effort to understand the course material, and if for that you need to ask lots of questions, do it.
4. Developing study habits
A good way to study, understand, and retain the material is taking notes. As you read the lesson, write down everything you think is important—and also everything you do not understand, so that you may clarify your questions in the forum or with your professor. Many students avoid studying because they imagine themselves reading the material over and over again. A good way of learning the material is reading aloud and trying to explain it to someone else or to yourself; in this way you can also make sure that you understand the material. During your study time, minimizes interruptions as much as possible. Calls and messages from social networks will also wait patiently until you finish studying.
5. Keep connected
As the saying goes, “two heads are better than one.” It is important that you keep in touch with classmates, professors, and counselors. This will help you stay in the same line of thinking with regard to the understanding of the course material. It is also of great benefit to establish friendships with your classmates, as you will provide mutual support when the time comes to take a difficult exam or submit a difficult task.
6. Know and use the available resources
There are a plethora of information material and databases (books, articles, pictures, videos, lectures, etc.) available to online students. Make sure you know where to access these resources, so that you can have them on hand when you need them. It is also very useful to bookmark in your browser virtual dictionaries, reference sites, and books online; this will help you save time and money when performing tasks.
Remember that, at the end of the day, the more effort you devote to understanding the material presented in your classes, the more likely you are to successfully complete them. Distance learning has much to offer those who devote time and effort to extract everything your courses have to offer.