7 Things to Consider Before Taking an Online Course

tumblr_inline_n539lar5vw1sbz7phLike most others who consider themselves to be homebodies, you may have this strong inclination to take an online course. I don’t blame you, I as well have had and still do have this strong inclination. I’ve taken a couple online courses before and I am choosing to take a couple over this winter break. I’ve learned a lot from taking my online courses before and now believe that I’ve got a good handle on it. So here are a few things to consider before taking an online course.

  1. Stray away from staying in your bed all day.

sleepyhead.jpgThat’s right. When most people imagine online courses they imagine staying in their pajamas and sitting in their bed all day. Whatever you do, don’t do this! I started my online courses like this and it didn’t take long for me to figure out that my bed started to feel like a cage to my school work and my motivation was lacking. Instead, get up in the morning, have your breakfast, get dressed and stop by your nearest library or coffee shop. This will give you a sense of going to school and your bedroom can remain your oasis.

  1. You should still write notes.

startup-593341_960_720.jpgYou’ve probably heard it from your professors already but this is very true. When you take an online course, you are more likely to type out your notes or not take notes at all. Write notes in a notebook, it can really help you retain the information. Online courses are basically self-taught, so it does take a lot more effort.

  1. Keep up with a weekly schedule.

pen-1232355_960_720Carve out the time in your day to go to your library or coffee shop during the week. Make it a routine to go and participate in your online course to make it more like a routine. This way you’ll get a lot more work done and will have the motivation to get your work done.

  1. Remember to separate homework and study from actually doing the class.

This will be different depending on your professor but the time you have in that library or coffee shop should mostly be dedicated to what would be the “in-class” course work and the time to do your homework should be finished at your desk at home. This separation can really enhance the “going to class experience.” Of course some people can’t concentrate at all at home, then this wouldn’t apply to you. But in that case, maybe try to dedicate certain days to course work and other days to studying and homework.

  1. Keep a planner.

Keep writing your reminders in a planner instead of constantly checking Blackboard. Even though it is an online class, you are likely to have a better experience by creating that experience you would have by actually attending class.

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  1. You can still “attend” office hours.

Most likely your professor will offer their phone number or email to stay in contact sensing you won’t be able to go to office hours. Therefore, if you are struggling in the course, don’t be shy to call them and go over your difficulties. They are more than willing to assist you.

  1. Studying is still required.

glasses-983947_960_720Most likely everything is open-book because your exams will be online and you can have your notes or book right in front of you. But remember that the tests are usually timed and it can put more stress on you to frantically look through the book struggling to find an answer. Study before the exam and you’ll feel much more confident. I’ve honestly found that I get worse grades by going through open book, surprising, I know, but it is true.

In the end, online courses aren’t so bad, and it’s good to take them when you want to get a few courses out of the way while on break, or maybe if you want to pick up a full-time job. Hopefully this helps you make your decision if you want to take online courses, and if you do, I hope this information helps you out. Good luck!


img_20160825_083203-002Elizabeth B.
Class of 2018
Major: Communication
Minor: Art
Blog Theme: Homebody for Everybody

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.

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