Choosing an online graduate degree like the Integrated Marketing Communications or Data Marketing Communications programs provides students with great flexibility to schedule class on their time, wherever they are. However, adjusting to self-paced learning without classroom reminders and amenities can be as much a lesson as the actual coursework.
To keep your grades up and balance work, life and academics, use these tips to get the most out of your online learning experience.
Create a Personal Course Calendar
It can be easy to fall behind or miss assignments if there’s not classroom time for a professor to remind you of what deadlines are coming up. To keep track of all your classes and what’s due, print out your syllabi and make a personalized calendar for the semester.
- Go Digital and Print: Setting reminders on your phone calendar can be great, but sometimes these get mindlessly snoozed. Printing out your calendar and hanging it in your study space will ensure you see what is due and when.
- Color Code: Taking more than one course? Color code specific courses to keep deadlines in order. You can also color code based on assignment type to help prioritize what assignments will take the most time to complete.
- Set Personal Deadlines: If an assignment is due on Sunday, but you are busy on Sunday’s, make your own deadline. Putting reminders of “days out” from a due date will help you gauge what assignment is a priority to work on.
2. Get to Know Your Classmates
Discussion posts are not just a way to earn points in a course. Actively read and thoughtfully respond to classmates’ posts, they will help you understand the course content better by providing unique views, and you may learn something new about the industry from their experiences! Your classmates are likely fellow professionals or rising industry leaders, make the most of this opportunity to network with those from around the country.
- Use the “Social Forum”: Read an interesting article? Come across a class-relevant case study? Share it with your classmates and engage in social conversations in this Discussion Board forum to make meaningful connections that can grow your professional network.
- Get Social: Share your social media handles in your introduction posts! Follow your classmates and keep your MC Network Profile up-to-date!
3. Make Your Own “Classroom”
While doing classwork on your couch in your pajamas may sound great, there is very little chance of quality work being accomplished. Find your own quiet space to complete your coursework and continuously do your work in this space to create a routine. Eliminate distractions by turning off Netflix and silencing your Twitter notifications.
- Be Prepared: Make sure you have the course materials you need to succeed in your “classroom.” This includes your textbooks, laptop and a strong internet connection.
- On-the-Go: If you are traveling and completing your courses, make sure you find a quiet place or plan ahead and do your work before jet setting. Coffee shops and local libraries can provide quiet study space in a new setting, bring headphones to tune out any background noise.
4. Communicate with Your Instructor
Office hours in an online course can be a little difficult since there’s no “walk-in” times. Be sure to introduce yourself to your instructor and clarify the best way to contact them. These are also working professionals who can help expand your network, make a connection!
- Preview Assignments: Check your assignments and course content early in the week to ensure there are no issues, and you are not hoping they see your last-minute email in time to fix an assignment.
- Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to email questions to a professor. Just because they are not in the room with you doesn’t mean they won’t answer your questions or offer help.
5. Reward yourself
Incentivize yourself with periodic rewards. After completing a large project or a difficult paper, treat yourself! You deserve it!
Online courses can take time to get used to; however, their benefits are undeniable. Online learning provides students with flexibility, lower costs and greater technological knowledge. So…don’t be nervous about online courses. If you keep in mind these seven tips, you are sure to succeed in any online learning environment.