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How to Succeed in Your Online Courses

Published: April 6, 2015 | Updated: February 25, 2020

More than 7 million students in higher education take at least one online course. Online courses are often more accessible, affordable and convenient than traditional classroom courses, while still offering the same quality content. In fact, according to a 2013 survey, almost three-quarters of academic leaders rated the learning outcomes of online education as equal or superior to their face-to-face counterpart.1 You can get all that you need from online classes, as long as you prepare. Here’s how to succeed in your online courses:

Be tech-ready. You can’t do the online work if you can’t get online. That’s why your very first step needs to be to make certain that your computer hardware, software and internet are all up to the task of helping you succeed. Confirm with the college what type of programs you will need for your course. Then, make sure you have dependable internet access. But remember, even if you don’t have an internet connection at home, there are plenty of places that provide free internet, such as libraries, community centers, bookstores, and even coffee shops.

Be proactive. Your online instructor will care about your success just as much as your classroom teacher –as long as they know who you are and believe that you’re willing to do the work they assign. Introduce yourself even before the course begins. Then, make certain to transfer the assignments and due dates from the course syllabus into action points for your calendar. Be prepared! And if you have questions about content or assignments, address them quickly.

Be organized. It’s even more important to be well-organized when you’re taking online courses. Without set meeting times and dates, it’s sometimes easy to procrastinate and let things slide until they pile up. Pretend your online course DOES meet at set times and allot the same time every week to accomplish the work you need to. Set up reminders in your calendar so you never miss required postings, chats or assignments. Start assignments early so you’ll have plenty of time to get your questions answered as they arise.

Be committed. If you truly want to succeed in your online classes, you need be fully committed to doing your best work, on time, every time. Do the required reading, attend the online lectures, post to the necessary classroom forums, do all the assignments and take all the quizzes and tests before their deadlines. Don’t forget to let others know that you’re taking courses online and that you take them seriously. A little encouragement from family and friends might be just the added support you need to succeed.

At Charter College, we’ll help you find success in our real and virtual classrooms. We offer online courses and blended learning that combine on-campus learning with online studies. We offer 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.