How to Successfully Manage Online Courses

Dannia Guest Blog

The virus is wreaking havoc on many colleges this upcoming semester, which, as a result, is causing many universities to continue online or hybrid class options. For me, when my university went online last spring, my attention span was the worst. I was home in Texas, so I did not want to study or do homework, and my grades suffered because of it. However, this past semester, I took over four online classes and feel much more confident and happy with my grades and how I managed them. All of my classes are online next year, and I am much more prepared to handle them based on the habits I learned last semester and this past year. If you struggle with online courses, keep reading and maybe you will find some of the tips I am using this semester useful!

Find a study spot that isn't your bedroom

When I did my online classes last semester, I took over my family's living room to work outside my bedroom. I got a large card table, my laptop, and my books and made a mini-office. Try and work outside of your sleeping space so you won't want to go to bed or play games. Minimal distractions are key!

Set designated times to complete your classes each day, and stick to it

Although my classes went online and I could do them whenever I wanted, I did my best to complete them during their regularly scheduled times. In doing this, you keep your body on a normal routine, and you don't have to worry about missing assignments because you do them too late in the week or day. Some professors still had attendance quizzes that had to be completed during the regular class period time, so doing your classes like normal helps prevent any missed quizzes, such as these. 

If your classes do not have designated meeting times and are strictly up to your discretion to finish them, use your planner and set designated personal time blocks to work on each class. You need to keep yourself accountable, and developing a schedule is a great start.

Attend virtual meetings at their scheduled times

Many professors will still record themselves giving their lectures at their typical scheduled times. Go ahead and attend these virtual lectures as you would with regular in-person classes. I found that if I waited to watch pre-recorded lectures, I would zone out or just wouldn't watch it at all because it would get too late in the day. Maintain your good habits and attend your virtual lectures at their standard times.

Try and find virtual clubs or activities to be involved with on campus

I hold leadership positions in two of my clubs, and we are still planning on hosting virtual meetings and engagement options for students. Many clubs still want to provide opportunities for students on campus, so research clubs you may be interested in joining. They might be hosting virtual meetings. It may not be the same feel as an in-person meeting, but you can still meet new people, stay involved on campus, and keep building your resume.

Attend virtual office and help hours

Even though classes may be online, professors and teaching assistants are still there to help! Many professors will still host office hours via WebEx or Zoom for students to hop on and ask any questions they may have. They can still answer your questions, and you honestly might get more one-on-one help since many students may not bother with joining online office hours. Use this to your advantage and get the help you need while also establishing a good reputation with your professors.

Do not cheat!

Especially with unmonitored online classes, the temptation to cheat with friends or online can be super tempting. However, professors can find out if students are cheating, and the last thing you want to do is have to retake an online course (and ruin your college record). Spare yourself, and just be honest with the work that you complete and submit. Honesty is the best policy. Plus, cheating does not help you retain information that you will probably need for later classes.

Hopefully some of these quick tips will help you better manage your online classes this semester. Online courses can be a pain to handle, but as long as you stick to a schedule and manage your time wisely, you might find that you will have more free time and freedom with online classes!

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