The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: Tips on Surviving Your Online Classes

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Although distance learning is not an entirely new concept, it continues to steadily evolve, giving people more opportunities than ever to achieve their academic goals. Taking online classes is not for everyone, however, but as long as you have a strict motivation to succeed— and access to the Internet — you can survive the good, the bad and the ugly of taking a course through a virtual environment (e-learning). Follow the survival tips below to find out if distance education is truly meant for you.

Survival Tip #1: Don't Take on More Than You Can Handle

Aristotle on the importance of education

The flexibility and convenience of distance learning is unparalleled in today's world of education. It can offer you many advantages versus attending classes on campus, such as eliminating commuting and making home-student life easier. The entire curriculum is conducted via the web, which means you can complete and submit assignments at midnight if you wish.

One of the most important aspects to consider before you register for an online programis to make sure you are some what comfortable with the subject. It is best to steer clear of subjects you tend to struggle with. For example, if calculus is a subject that causes you difficulty, chances are taking a calculus course through a distance program might not be the best choice.

Keep in mind also that your instructor may not be readily available to answer your questions,and almost all your correspondence is through email. Also keep in mind that like traditional universities, there are both good and bad professors. Just because you have one simple, easy-to-follow, and responsive professor, doesn’t mean they’ll all be that great – especially if they’re not very familiar with how technology works.

Finally, remember that a college education is an investment; don't waste it by spreading yourself too thin. Pulling an all-night homework marathon can leave you starving, stressed and exhausted. Nights like this can make the idea of cooking or going out for food feel like a major task.You’re more likely to be ordering in from an online order restaurant that delivers in your area.

Survival Tip #2: Have Plenty of Backup Plans

The only thing worse than struggling with a subject you are unfamiliar with is having computer or technology issues. It is one of the most stressful and frustrating problems you can come across when taking online courses. The only way to combat these unforeseen problems is to have a backup plan.

If you find yourself without Internet in the midst of your e-course it can make an ordinary college student go insane. Consider speaking with friends or family about using their computer or Internet if you are experiencing issues with yours. Free Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere, so scope out local places that you can work from if your Internet goes out.

Also, always create a backup of all your assignments and research. Using a flash drive as a storage for your files should be something you already have and utilize, but to take it one step further, consider downloading Microsoft SkyDrive or a cloud service like dropbox to save your files. It can take the stress out of worrying what will happen if your computer crashes while working on your 50-page thesis paper.

Another amazing idea is the potential of creating a study group or discussion forum on the Internet (similar to private virtual chat rooms) to share resources, ask questions and to collaborate on ideas.

Survival Tip #3: Stay Organized

Staying organized is going to alleviate massive amounts of stress when it comes to completing assignments and keeping yourself on task. If you are having problems keeping track of all of your website resources, consider using a bookmarking service such as Digg or Delicious. Both sites offer bookmarking services that can make even the most disorganized person look like they have it all together.

Plus, staying organized and creating healthy habits inevitably builds useful skills for life. Work at creating good study habits and seek help if you are struggling. Your instructor wants you to succeed, and knowing these tips on how to survive online classes can give you a good idea if distance learning is for you.

Author-: Michelle Rebecca.  Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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