Starting an online course can be very exciting. For many, e-learning and online classes are a novel idea. However, a problem can arise, as the novelty disappears, and all that is left is the work you must do.
What oftentimes gets overlooked is the fact that you may be able to study almost everywhere, but you must still study. Most online courses are as demanding as traditional courses, and in some cases, they can be more demanding because the responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders and motivating yourself can be difficult.
There may be many reasons as to why you want to study. You may want to study further because you want to improve your qualifications or know more about an area of interest as a hobby. You may even want to study because you want to change to a different field.
No matter the reason, it’s important that you know exactly why you want to take the course in the first place. Doing this will help you set up concrete goals for your studies. These goals are very useful for keeping yourself motivated
It’s also important to prepare yourself before starting an online course. To help you with that we have come up with tips to help you best prepare for your online course.
An easy-to-share infographic is located at the bottom of this post.
1. Pinpoint Potential Problems
It’s important to pinpoint where you may have trouble whilst studying. This way you can come up with contingency plans in case something happens.
Always make sure you have a technical contingency plan in case your computer has issues. In that case you can still submit your work and study. You may face other issues, such as your normal work area being occupied when you want to use it. What then? What will you do if that happens?
Are you worried about not being able to submit your work because of issues outside of your control? Then what do you do in that case? Finding out important contact details early on, will ensure you are not running around like a headless chicken in cases of emergency, because you will know whom to call.
2. Find Your Ideal Program
Now that you know why you want to study and you know what problems you may encounter, let’s move on to finding the ideal program for you. As we said, you must know why you want to study and you should be aware of what problems may occur, that way you know exactly what you are able to do in advance.
Having this in place makes finding a program that suits you that much easier. If you are worried about technical issues, you can find a program that will work around these issues. On another note, at times people can get caught up in the “I’m studying” rather than in the “what I am studying”.
It’s important that you choose a program that you are passionate about. Studying something that you don’t like increases your chances of not finishing it, because you get demotivated. If you like what you are studying, and it interests you, you will want to study longer and harder, making for a much more successful online class experience.
3. Find Important Contact Details Beforehand
There might come a time when you need to get in touch with people from the institution you’re studying from. It might be in the event of an emergency or it might be that you are looking for advice on an issue pertaining to your studies. It might also be that you just need to talk to the coordinator.
Finding out contact details, and especially, who is responsible for what parts of your studies, is invaluable information. Having this information early on means that you will be able to get in touch faster and therefore get your answers faster as well.
Not having this information nearby might have you paging through the website at breakneck speed, trying to find someone to talk to. This can be a pain, especially if you are dealing with an emergency at the time.
4. Set Up a Schedule and Stick to It
Academic success, whether in high school or post-secondary education, has time management as a supporting pillar. Managing your time by setting up a schedule and sticking to it, can help you improve in your studies. As it is, studying can be a difficult endeavor for many students, causing a lot of procrastination.
This can negatively affect grades, causing anxiety and stress. Setting up a schedule before commencing with your online studies is a time management tool that can positively affect your levels of stress. It will teach you to set aside time every day for studying.
5. Build A Network
When starting with an online course, visit the online portal or the student group forum and introduce yourself. By doing this you are gearing yourself up to start building a network of likeminded people.
These people, your future study buddies, can be supporting shoulders for those low motivation moments, or for brainstorming, or even just to remind you should you forget to do something. Having “online friends” can become a surefire way for you to form lifelong real friends.
6. Get Used to The Website Study Portal
Just as important as knowing who to talk to in case of emergencies, knowing how to fully operate your online study space will cut down on many small issues you may face. It is wise to go into the study space, or portal, as soon as you can, so that you can “play around” with it.
The more accustomed you are to it, the better your online experience. This also means that you won’t burden your network with issues you can easily solve with a little knowledge and experience in the study portal.
7. Designate Your Study Area and Defend It
This step is as important as setting up a schedule. By designating your study area and removing any distractions that may get in the way, you will cultivate a study mindset. When you sit at your area, the only thing that should be on your mind, is studying.
That area should only be for studying. Once you know that, “when I sit here I am studying”, you will start to build a healthy study attitude and that is half the battle won.
If this is your first online study experience, you might feel a little intimidated and unsure of yourself. Not to worry as this is absolutely normal. Once you start, remember to ask a lot of questions if you do not understand something, and last of all, relax, this is going to be a joyful experience for you.
Interested in Studying Online?
If you have any questions about studying online or degree possibilities at NAU Canada Online, give us a call on 855.210.5641. We’re always happy to help!