Online education has been growing in popularity over the last decade or so, as everyone from local colleges and specialist online schools to well-respected, world-renowned educational institutions have started offering a wide range of online courses. In 2020, even those studying in school have been forced to attend online lectures and tutorials as schools across the globe have been closed. Perhaps for the first time, we’ve realistically wondered if online education might be the future.
It’s certainly a great time to study online. With so many courses available and so much uncertainty out in the real world, online study is a fantastically accessible alternative. But it’s only worthwhile if you ace it. Just like lessons in the real world, if you slack, fail to attend lessons, and never give your best, you won’t succeed, and you’ll have wasted both your time and your money. So, it’s important that you get into good habits, so that you can ace your online degree.
Take it Seriously
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that online courses are easier, or less serious than in-school programs. They aren’t. An online course can have the same outcomes as studying in school, and lead to the same opportunities, and so should be taken just as seriously. Treat your online course just as you would an in-school degree. Make sure you understand the course requirements and any expectations that your tutor might have of you (as well as your own expectations) and that you know when your deadlines are, and how you will submit work. If you need to secure a placement during your studies, make sure you know how, and which establishments you can apply to, and do this in plenty of time.
Become a Morning Person
Morning people are often more productive and more efficient. They get up, get things done, and are less likely to procrastinate. If you are used to sleeping in, try to get into the habit of getting up early, even if it means moving your alarm forward a little each day.
Get into Good Exercise Habits
Exercise might seem like something that you haven’t really got time for while you are studying, but it can be wonderfully beneficial, even when you are at your busiest. Regular exercise helps to keep you fit and healthy. It can help you sleep and boost your immunity. Exercise can also help you to relax and unwind, reducing your stress, boosting your mental health, and making it easier to focus on your work.
Become a Goal Setter
Of course, the main goal of anyone starting an online course is to finish it and to do well. But what comes next? Why do you want to study online? Are you taking a course in nursing education to push your career forwards or take on something new? Online schools like Marymount University will give you everything that you need to reach this goal, but you still have to do the work, and having your own target will help you to stay motivated.
At the same time, it can be hard not to lose focus when your goal is so far away. The most successful people in any walk of life are the ones with smaller, attainable goals they can hit, and celebrate, on their way to their big targets.
Become a Go-Getter
Sometimes, to ace anything, we need to change our mindsets. We need to stop being the person that waits for explanations and learning opportunities and become the person that asks questions, does research alone, and works independently. If you are considering an online course, ask yourself if you’ve got the drive to see it through.
If there’s one thing that you need to do if you want to come out of your online degree with fantastic grades, it’s to get organized, especially if you are planning to study around a job or family commitments. Get used to writing lists and taking notes, and try to be as prepared as possible, even getting clothes out the night before and preparing meals in advance can ease your workload.
Embrace All Elements of Your Course
When we’re studying programs of higher education, we have far more control than we did in high school. No one forces us to attend lectures or to do more than the bare minimum, and many students scrape by doing just that. They attend some lectures, they do assignments the night before, and nothing more.
But, scraping by isn’t the same as doing well. If you want to be proud of your results, it’s a good idea to embrace all elements of your course and all ways of learning. Use the resources that your tutor provides, whether they are reading lists, documentaries to watch, online texts, or lists of places to visit. Explore placement opportunities or volunteer jobs and even try to attend networking events if they are relevant to what you want to do.
The other people studying are another valuable resource that many online students overlook. If there isn’t one already, reach out and set up a virtual study group. Share ideas, work together on assignments, and learn from each other. At the very least, you’ll build an understanding support network.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
One thing about online study that appeals to many students is the chance to be anonymous. They relish the idea of not having to sit in a class of other students, not having to make friends, and never having to stand at the front of a lecture hall to give presentations.
Chances are, you could go through many online courses completely invisible. But, would you be getting the most of it? Stepping out of your comfort zone gives you a chance to learn more, to gain valuable experience, and to prepare for any future career that you may have.
Try to be the person that starts discussions, not just in lessons and study groups, but also in the real world, discussing your field of study with friends, family, and colleagues.
Another great way to step out of your comfort zone, and to get out from behind your computer is to look for volunteer work in your area of study. Check your local community and ask your tutor for advice.
Another element of study that’s uncomfortable for some students, but is certainly worth doing, is asking for help. Admit when you need help, when you don’t understand something, or when you have fallen behind. Get in touch with your tutor, or a member of support staff, and let them help you. You’ll never ace a course without at some point needing extra help, so make sure you are willing to ask for it.
Become More Tech Savvy
You don’t need to be some kind of tech whizz to take an online degree, or even to do well. But, having some skills can make it easier, and give you the tools that you need to do well. Taking the time to at least learn the basics of video chats, online research, submitting work and word processing gives you a great head start.
But, to ace your course, it’s a good idea to embrace the internet further and use it to your full advantage. Use apps such as Trello to help you stay organized and Zoom to enjoy online study groups with classmates. Then, make sure you are the person that checks their emails (and junk mail) regularly, and stays at inbox zero, to make sure that you never miss out on important notifications, appointments, or changes to your lecture schedule.
Upgrade Your Internet Access
It’s hard to be tech-savvy, and even to watch online lectures if your internet connection is awful. You certainly don’t need super-fast connections, but it can be worth upgrading, especially if other people in your house are likely to be streaming or playing games while you study.
Find a Study Space
Ideally, we’d all have an office to work in at home, but this isn’t always possible, and if we’re honest, most of us like studying or working on the couch with a movie or some music in the background sometimes. But, if you want to be able to ace coursework and exams, you’ll need a peaceful study space. If there’s nowhere at home, ask yourself where else you could go – perhaps a library, a café or a friend’s house.
Start Saying No
One of the big benefits of online study is that we can do it around other commitments and responsibilities. Most of the time. When you’ve got exams and important assignments coming up, you should try to clear your schedule as much as possible. This might mean saying no to other plans, booking vacation days, and closing your door on your family.
Studying online is a great option. For many people, it’s their only chance to head back to school, and the only way that they can get the education that they need to change their lives. So, make sure you make the most of this fantastic opportunity. Don’t waste it – Ace it!