It has now been a month since I began taking online classes full time through UMass Lowell. It has definitely been a unique experience and so far I have gained a lot through this experience even more so than what I have learned in class.
1. Time Management
Having good time management skills is one of the most common requirements you will see on a job description or class syllabus, and for good reason. It is so important. I will be the first to admit that it can be challenging, but it is a crucial skill to master. I am currently taking five online classes and it is so easy to push assignments off until the last minute. But when I have a paper, a couple discussions boards to post to, and a graded assignment due all on Sunday night at 11:59 pm, that last minute procrastination stress is not something I want to deal with. Take the time to plan out your work and do it well before the deadline and you will be thanking yourself later.
2. Communicate with Professors
This is a good rule of thumb for both college, online and on campus, and at a job. I found this to be especially challenging in the online atmosphere because of the lack of in person interaction. Yet, communication is a huge key to success. One of the first assignments I did online was a 20 question timed quiz and when I went to submit it, I had been kicked off Blackboard. When I went back on, all of my answers had been whipped out. And I had three minutes left on the quiz. I panicked and spent the next few minutes thinking I was going to fail the class. Once I took a deep breath, I emailed my professor and explained the situation. He was more than happy to fix it and let me retake the quiz with the full time allotted. Crisis averted. But whether it be with a job or in school, always take the time to communicate with your boss or professor.
3. Use your Agenda
I cannot tell you how many times my agenda has saved me, especially with online classes because there are no regular reminders about a lot of assignments. At the beginning of the semester I wrote down all of my assignments and exams for the next few months and it has paid off so well. There have been a couple times where I check my calendar and realize I have something small due later that night. It’s good practice to write down what needs to be done and it will definitely pay off.
Despite that I have only been taking online classes for a month, I would recommend them to anyone getting a degree. My professors have made it an enjoyable experience while still being very educational.
This post reflects the ideas of the author and she alone.