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7 Strategies for Managing Online Courses

More than 7 million students take online courses.1 If you’re one of them, you know those classes present different challenges from traditional courses. And if you’re taking more than one, those challenges can add up. You need to be especially well-organized and aware of due dates. Here are 7 strategies for managing online courses that will help you get the knowledge and the grades you deserve:

1)      Make sure you have the right technology. They are online courses, so you better be able to get online! You’ll need a functioning email, and reliable access to the internet. If you don’t have internet at home, you can use public libraries, community centers, and even coffee shops. You’ll also need whatever software the courses require. Before you enroll, make sure you have the tools to succeed.

2)      Read the syllabus from each course. Think of your syllabus as a crucial set of instructions designed to help you succeed in each of your courses. It provides you with some basic information about the course and the instructor, but also very specific information about assignments, quizzes, tests and that very important component: DUE DATES.

3)      Be a communicator. Even before your courses begin, send your instructors emails. Introduce yourself, ask any questions you may have and give them an indication of what you expect from the class. Then, once you’re connected to your fellow classmates, make sure to be an active participant in online discussions and forums. Your instructor isn’t the only one you can learn from! You can learn from your classmates and they can learn from you.

4)      Sync the syllabus from each course to your calendar. One of the first steps you need to take is to make certain you know what is due when and that you have a surefire reminder method. Use a day planner or the calendar in your phone. Set alerts for due dates and give yourself plenty of time to reach those dates. Note conflicts and competing deadlines and plan accordingly. If you have a big test in Finance Fundamentals on the same day as your exam in Business Tactics and Execution, you’ll need to plan time to study for both.

5)      Log into your course sites frequently. It’s easy to keep up with what’s going on in your online classes if you’re checking in regularly. Check your email every day and try to log in to the course sites at least three times a week. Scan the pages for assignment updates, forum posts and changes in due dates.

6)      Schedule a consistent block of time to work on each course. If you plan out that every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00 PM, you’ll be working on Organizational Management, and that on every Monday and Wednesday at 6:00 PM, you’ll dedicate time to Economics, you’ll be less likely to miss an assignment, fall behind or start to feel overwhelmed. Choose times that make sense for you and your busy life and then follow through.

7)      Ask for help. Don’t wait until you’re lost. If you’re not sure of an assignment, are having difficulty performing required tasks or just don’t get something, don’t hesitate. Reach out to your instructor and fellow classmates, but also take full advantage of online tutoring resources that may be available to you.

At Charter College, we know you can succeed in your online courses and we’re here to assist you. We’ll help you get set up for success and then provide you with online support throughout your courses. We offer an assortment of fully online courses and blended learning that combines online course work with on campus support. Choose from our career-focused programs in accounting, business, healthcare, information technology, paralegal studies, veterinary assistance, and the trades. If you’re ready to change your life, start here.

1http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/survey_report/2013-survey-online-learning-report/