Adult Student Taking Online Courses

Whether you want to enhance your resume or plan to earn a college degree or high school diploma, online courses offer the convenience of attending class from the comfort of your home and on your schedule. Follow these tips to increase your chances of success in an online class.

Get Comfortable With Technology
From computers and printers to wireless routers and smartphones, technology plays a major role in your online education. If necessary, tune up your computer, install the latest software, and make sure your equipment is in great working order. Lastly, install anti-virus protection, and plan to back up your data regularly. 

Click here for an illustrated guide to the Web and getting the most out of your internet browser.

Plan For Success
Before your first class, mark off time in your schedule for studying. Use a planning app or calendar to organize all your classes, assignments and exams. Before your class begins, decide if you'll wake up early to read assignments, stay up late, or study on your lunch break. Then, customize your schedule each week based on your work and life schedule. 

And don’t forget to look ahead to the future. Are you studying to earn a college degree online or advance your career? Your future determines which classes you will take each semester, so keep your future in mind as you map out your courses and learn as much as you can from them. 

Stay Engaged
In the midst of juggling your online education, work, and family, some things can end up suffering. Resist the urge to put your coursework on the back burner. Instead, stay engaged with three techniques. 

1. Divide homework into small, manageable sections. Have a large chunk of reading to do? Try breaking it into smaller sections of 5, 10, or even 20 pages. This technique works for all your assignments, so figure out what works for you and do it.

2. Take breaks. You won’t be able to engage with the class work if your brain is too tired to think straight or if your body is too energized to sit still. Grab a healthy snack, walk around the block, or chat briefly with a friend. Then get back to it.

3. Realize school is only temporary. It can be hard to focus on studying when juggling the everyday demands of your life, but the sacrifice today is worth the rewards you receive when you pass the class. 

Use Available Resources
No online learner is an island. While you're solely responsible to turn in your homework on time and show up for class, a variety of resources exists to help you succeed. So take advantage of them. 

  • Turn to your support network when you feel tired and need someone to cheer you on. 
  • Ask your instructor if you have questions about the assignment or don't understand a lesson's concepts. 
  • Make friends with the research library staff, including our librarian, Betsy Reichart, who frequently connects with students and answers questions on our online Student Community.
  • Find a good IT professional to fix bugs in your equipment. 
  • Discuss finances, job placement and work-school balance with the school's professionals.

Connect With the Online Student Community
There are so many students just like you who are taking online classes. Connect with them and enhance your school experience. Talk about your goals and encourage each other to persevere through challenges. Discuss notes and concepts from class. Collaborate together to complete projects.

Do a little homework now, and you'll be better prepared for success in the future. And with online classes, you’ll find that success on your own time, from the comfort of your own home.