Which 8 tips guarantee success in online classes?
This is the third and final chapter about Studying Online. To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Review the concept of online learning at the university level
– See success in online environments in terms of preparation, punctuality and participation
– Explore the eight tips that make for a successful online student at university
It’s often a student’s (and tutor’s) natural instinct to prefer that the teaching and learning experience happens face-to-face and in a familiar classroom setting. However, this doesn’t mean that studying over the internet might not become the preferred method of learning after a period of transition. Afterall, as an undergraduate or master’s student, much of what is eventually learned is through self-guided research, and autonomous learning and problem-solving skills are needed by all who wish to be competitive and successful in the future.
This final chapter on studying online therefore highlights not only how a student can be successful online but also why this approach to learning can sometimes be more effective than the traditional classroom-based environment. We’ve divided the how to succeed into eight tips that can be broadly categorised in three ways: preparation, punctuality and participation:
Tip 1: Prepare the Study Environment
Before joining an online class or discussion forum, test all your equipment and ensure that you know how to use that technology effectively. You may need to upgrade your webcam and microphone, practise with software such as Teams or Zooms and watch instructional videos. Make sure also that you’re in a quiet and professional learning space, particularly if your video will be turned on. If your bedroom has become your classroom, keep that space clean, your backdrop uncluttered, and inform any potential house mates of when you will need an interrupted time to study.
Tip 2: Prepare Your Mind
Once your study space is ready to go, don’t forget to also prepare your knowledge so that you’re able to get involved. This is particularly true if English is not your first language as familiarising yourself with key concepts and vocabulary will make listening and keeping on track easier. Entering any class without doing the necessary homework can be tricky, but in an online interaction it can make that class incredibly awkward, potentially wasting the valuable “live” time you have with your tutor and peers. It’s recommended that students not only do all the homework that’s set but also a little more. Look ahead to that week’s topics and see what else you can learn, as this will help with your confidence, contributions and listening skills.
Tip 3: Prepare to Go Live
It’s highly recommended that students get in the habit of checking their microphone, web camera and computer battery life before each live interaction. Cancelling any downloads you have and closing any browsers can also be a good way of increasing bandwidth and internet speed. Furthermore, by ensuring that you have a place to keep notes and know where to access and download the relevant class or course materials, you’ll better guarantee smooth and effective online learning.
Tip 4: Be On Time (or Early)
Just as key as preparation is punctuality. While arriving late to a face-to-face class is obvious and allows for tutors and peers to catch-up the late arrival on important information, this is not the case for online studying in which a late attendee can go more unnoticed. Missing the start of a lesson could result in missing key information about the order of the lecture. You may miss out on a review of the week’s learning or critical information about an assignment. To avoid this, try to arrive five to ten minutes early to a scheduled online class. Not only will this mean you’ll be ready to study, but you may even time to chat informally with others who arrive early too.
Tip 5: Be Punctual with Assignments
Because an online student has less observation and oversight from their tutor, teachers may not notice so easily if you are on schedule with your assignments or contributing when you should be to collaborative work. The key here is to be organised. Keep a diary and don’t miss or be late for anything that you are supposed to participate in. This requires discipline of course, but once you form the routine of noting all dates into an online calendar (like Outlook), such organisation will quickly become habit – a habit that will likely benefit you beyond your studies.
Tip 6: Build Rapport
In addition to preparation and punctuality, participation is also key to success. Sometimes it takes a conscientious online learner to get the conversation going and to make everyone feel more comfortable. Be the one to reach out to your study cohort through instant messages before class to see how their day is going, and get in touch after class too with reflections on the course materials. Being prepared to ask questions during live interactions can also help encourage deeper conversation. At the end of the day, whether you’re paired up or placed into larger breakout rooms, furthering debate can build rapport between peers and instigate some interesting and more relaxed topical development.
Tip 7: Encourage Sharing
Another useful tip is to share ideas and materials with your online classmates as this will encourage them to share back with you. Your peers may have perspectives that you hadn’t considered that can benefit your studies, just as you may have a different viewpoint that can help them too. You never know, your classmates may have even discovered helpful software, shortcuts or study materials that can benefit you beyond the length of the course as well as during. When sharing though, it’s always a good idea to remain aware of collusion and how to avoid it. After all, you wouldn’t wish to be accused of cheating and called in to an academic misconduct meeting, would you?
Tip 8: Participate in Discussions
Finally, one of the great aspects about studying online is that there are lots of opportunities for interaction, whether synchronous (live) or asynchronous (delayed), and the potential to extend these discussions to your benefit – particularly if you’re a language learner. Students who properly participate in forum and in-class discussions are those who are looking to continue their conversations in more qualitative ways. When responding to a forum, for example, the delayed aspect of this format means that you can carefully research your answers, proofread and edit your responses, and take the time to consider other peoples’ ideas before replying to them. This is particularly beneficial for students who are normally shy or easily distracted in class.
Great work on finishing this reader on studying online. We’ve now discussed the contexts, challenges and top tips that when considered often lead to success in this learning environment. Why not unlock and complete our Chapter 1-3 Worksheets to check your comprehension of these topics before moving on to another reader?
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