What are some effective study strategies for students of online courses?

A growing number of universities are now offering online courses which have come as a boon for working professionals looking to continue their education. There is a lot of flexibility in online courses, and they are accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

However, since the setup is different than a traditional classroom, students of online courses need to strategize their learning process in a different way than traditional courses. Since the classes are all online, one of the most common problems of online learning is that students tend to procrastinate in the absence of supervision. Only a self-motivated student can successfully complete an online course.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of an online course.

Avoid distractions

Internet is chock-full of fascinating information, and every URL can be appear tempting, but do not succumb. Try to concentrate on your designated subject rather than visiting your favorite websites. A good tip is to hide your favorite bookmarks or to use another web browser. Alternatively, you could also visit a library during the scheduled course time and use their computers. Apart from online distractions, also make sure that there are no real world distractions such as television, music system etc.

Follow a regimen

It is best to set aside a fixed time for your lectures online, rather than follow an erratic schedule. This disciplined routine will make you more attentive towards the lectures and will also help you focus better. A regular class may dedicate 4-5 hours per week for a particular subject; you could follow the same technique. Create a timetable with due dates, test dates etc. and post it near your study area. Online courses are flexible indeed, but setting a fixed study routine can prevent you from slacking off.

Keep in touch with your professor

Unlike traditional classes, in an online environment you do not get to interact with your instructors on a day-to-day basis; yet it is advisable to keep contact with them for adequate guidance during the course of study. You may choose to communicate via mails or chat.

Use online tools

There are many useful online tools that can be used to help you during studies. For example, Sparknotes is a website that offers quizzes and short summaries on different subjects; Flashcard Exchange lets you make online flashcards for free; Hippocampus.org offers free study materials; and Prezi is a great online presentation tool. Make the most of all these tools.

Authenticate your sources

Since there is no dearth of information available online, it becomes difficult to judge which is real and which is false; therefore make sure that you cross-check your information. It is wise to take information from reliable and authentic sources. You can browse through online libraries for peer reviewed papers and research reports.

Take adequate breaks

Many a time, you may get too engrossed in a subject and keep researching on it without realizing that hours have passed. Make sure that you take enough breaks while studying in order to replenish your energy and to avoid getting burnt out.

Don’t take online learning for granted

Many students tend to take their coursework lightly while pursuing online courses because there is no one to keep a check on them. But remember that exams in online courses are every bit as real as the ones in traditional courses. Frantic learning just a day before the exam does not serve any purpose. It is important to space out your assigned work throughout the year so that you are able to absorb the information and process it on time, rather than merely learning stuff by rote just a day or two before the exam.

By making sure that you are self-disciplined and by following a proper learning process, you can excel in your online course.

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