I freakin’ LOVE online school! When I was in college, I tried to opt for as many online classes as possible! It has so many benefits: saves time/gas (you don’t have to commute to school), you get to do it on your schedule (there’s not a set day/time you have to take the course), and in general these classes are MUCH easier – they are designed for you to pass!!
Of course, a traditional classroom has its benefits that are irreplaceable, but online school is such a great option for people who don’t have the luxury to attend a 9AM-12PM lecture every day (such as people who have to work full time or are taking care of others). Also, online school is much more affordable than attending a traditional college. And the best part, the assignments are the EASIEST!! They keep it very straightforward – in my experience, they’ve always been repetitive online modules (practice problem sets) that you complete every week for the entire semester lol.
For me, taking online courses helped me finish college faster and allowed me to still go to my internship. I really encourage everyone to consider online schooling and see if it suits your needs. Now, that’s definitely not to say that online school is for EVERYBODY. The big divider is that it may not be best for people who are not as self-disciplined, but to become more self-disciplined is a whole other blog post in itself.
For now, let me share you some little tips & tricks that I used to get through online classes!
+ Tip #1) The Lecture IS The Exam!
In the context that your online courses are prerecorded lecture videos, know that the lecture video is EVERYTHING!!! Actually, I think that online lectures are designed and delivered better than a lot of in-person lectures. Think of it like someone creating a YT video versus someone just rambling. (If your teacher is not an idiot) A lot of thought goes into making those lecture recordings be something 1) interesting/engaging, 2) informative, and 3) structured in a way to help you learn. Oh, and probably with wayyyy less rambling.
Those teachers feel held accountable by their videos, so they usually do their due diligence to make sure they touch on every single topic that will be covered on the test. If they mention i.e. accrual accounting entries – then that’s your clue to go and read that chapter (and make sure you UNDERSTAND that chapter) and test yourself with practice problems!
What works for me: I honestly take notes on everything they say. And best part is, you can rewind in case you missed something!
If you’ve taken an online class before, then you know what I mean. Every word they speak is with intention and will show up on the exam. Seriously, listen to an online course! The lectures are really great.
+ Tip #2) Take Notes Split Screen
This is a tip one of my college classmates showed me and I do this every day till now, even at work: Split Screen. It’s a life saver for taking notes or anything that requires you to switch tabs repeatedly.
How to do it (Microsoft Instructions):
- Open two tabs or two windows of your choice. For example’s sake, I’ll use: (1) my online lecture video, (2) my note taking doc (i.e. Microsoft Word)
- Grab the top bar of one of the tabs/windows, and pull it to the extreme right (anywhere towards the right) till it’s basically half-off the screen. At this point, your other tab/window will shrink. So now both of your tabs/windows are showing
- Release. Then each of those tabs/windows will snap and split equally on the screen. You get to watch the online video on the left, and take notes on the right!! You can readjust so they are not split directly half way (i.e. if you need more room to watch the video, you can pull it out so it takes up 2/3 of the screen and your notes take up 1/3)!
+ Tip #3) Do The Assignments Earlier Than Due
With online classes, there are some specific nuances that render my usual motto of “due tomorrow, do tomorrow” … a little riskier than usual.
- Avoid The Submission Crash: From 11:50PM – 11:50PM right before the assignment due is a verrryyyyy dangerous time to submit your assignment. That’s when all your other procrastinator classmates, aka EVERYONE, are also submitting their papers / tests. TBH Blackboard is a real crappy website and there’s a good chance it can’t handle the volume – so err on the safer side and submit earlier
- Assess The Assignment Difficulty: While online courses normally have very easy homework, the downfall of that assumption is you’ll get surprised if a harder assignment does sneak its way in. In a traditional classroom, you at least get warned about it. You start to hear whispers from other classmates about how long the new assignment takes – or your buddy to the left might ask you, “Omg, have you started the new assignment. It’s crazyyy.” In an online course, if you peek at the assignment later than sooner, you may be sorry to find out that it’s super hard and requires a lot of research!!
- Online Instructors Need Time To Respond To Emails/Questions: In a traditional classroom, you know that you can hound the professor every M, T, W before or after class (whether they like it or not!). With an online instructor, that’s not really the case. Although the good instructors will check their emails often and respond timely, some people will literally never respond to you lol. We all have that super old professor who doesn’t know how to use email haha. But also, some people have reasonable boundaries and maybe they don’t respond after 5PM (in which case you are screwed at 11PM when you have a question before 11:59PM submission) or on the weekends
+ Tip #4) Check Communications Often!
In a traditional classroom, you’ll hear your professor say all the upcoming assignments and other important stuff (unless you’re like me and you consider classtime as naptime and miss the announcement that the final is at a different time and miss your accounting final and end up at the dean’s office crying….another story for another time).
With an online course, you have to rely on checking those Blackboard announcements, your teacher’s emails, and the holy Syllabus. If you don’t, well you might end up in the dean’s office trying to prove your track record to show you are an honest student who deserves an exam retake LMAO.
Well I hope you found these tips helpful!! Please know that the transition to online school is different for everybody and is not easy for a lot of people! I am praying for everyone who is finding online school difficult, or having anxiety over online school, to just take a deep breath and keep trying, one step at a time.
Thank you for reading!