Getting a degree is no longer just about attending classes and there are now plenty of students who go online for their learning lessons, but not everyone is cut out to be a great e-student.
Online learning has many advantages in terms of flexibility and being able to fit your learning around a work schedule is a big positive for many, but you have to be disciplined in your approach and be prepared for learning without the supervision and interaction that you get in a real-time classroom.
In addition to checking out online degree information, it makes sense to get some tips on how to improve your time management skills and maintain your levels of commitment and organization, in order to successfully attain your degree as an e-student.
Plan for success
Whilst online learning does give you greater flexibility you should also accept that it is a myth that it is much easier to accomplish your goals simply because you can work at your own pace.
You need to make a plan and then stick to it. There are many distractions that face us depending on our circumstances, such as jobs and family commitments, which can easily cause you to fall behind in your learning schedule unless you are disciplined and plan a timetable for learning that you stick to.
Aim to set aside a block of time every day as though you were actually attending a class and had to put everything else to one side to go there.
Connect on a daily basis
One of the positive attributes of an online course is the fact that you only need online access in order to be able to connect with your course whenever you want.
It will definitely help to get into a regular routine of checking in on a daily basis and turning school into a daily activity will help you keep up to date with any syllabus changes and keep the enemy known as procrastination at bay.
Organize your coursework
In the same way that classroom students use notebooks and folders to organize their coursework, you should use your computer.
Create folders on your PC or laptop for all your projects and coursework and keeping drafts of any papers or assignments on your hard drive is helpful, if you need to refer to them at a later stage.
Aim to start projects early
It never does any harm to get ahead of the game if you can, so get into the habit of starting projects as early as you possibly can.
When you are working online there is always the temptation to delay, especially when you don’t have other classroom students quizzing you on how far you have got with your paper so far. There is good evidence to suggest that the earlier you start on a paper or start studying for an upcoming exam, the better results you are likely to achieve.
Take advantage of the flexibility that online learning offers you and always try to be an early starter on any work that you have to do.
Network with other students
Online distance learning does not have to be a lonely existence and networking with other students on the course or speaking to family and friends about your studies, will help you iron out any worries of problems.
Ask for help
All good students are never afraid to ask for help when they need it, and this is the same approach you should take with your online learning.
Some distance learners tend to hesitate too long before asking their online course instructors for some help or guidance, which is likely to put them behind in their studies.
Distance learning is no different from the classroom, if you need some help, never be worried about asking for it.
Becoming a distance learning student
All of this advice is fundamental to achieving success with your online learning, but you also need to find a course that not only gives you the degree that you want, but offers a learning environment that is right for you and your lifestyle.
If your personal life does not give you the opportunity to attend regular weekly classes in person and you are used to working with technology and enjoy studying alone, then you should be able to develop into a successful e-student.
If you have any concerns, there are also hybrid and blended courses that combine online learning with some on-campus time as well.
If you are an organized self-starter who is able to work independently and without being cajoled to do so, then you are well on the way to becoming a successful e-student.
Martin Anderson has participated in a number of courses, online, as well as at brick and mortar colleges. An avid blogger, he likes to share his experiences and insights. Look for his articles on a variety of online education and career related blogs.