How to Ace an Online College Class

How to Ace an Online College Class

Have you ever taken an online class? It’s a super convenient way to get extra credit when you don’t have a lot of spare time. I took a “break” last year and moved back home I took 6 classes. So yes, 6 classes was not a break, but it’s fine. 

I know a lot of people who think that an online course is an easy option that requires little work and attention. Most of the time, people who think that are in for a rude awakening. Of course, not every college class is the same, but a lot of online college classes are more difficult by the kind of assignments given. 

There’s two kinds of online college classes. Some community college classes can be online, which are often a little easier than the ones from online schools. The second kind is those that are taken through online college programs, like University of Maryland Global System.  Entirely online programs are much more rigorous to keep up with traditional learning methods.

Online classes are not for everyone. I did high school entirely online and it was great, but many friends said they couldn’t have done it. If you’re able to commit to the class, actually study and be an active participant, you can breeze through it!

Keep track of your classes

For the past 4 years I’ve had recurring dreams that I completely forget about a class I’m taking until the last week and fail. It’s virtually impossible for this to happen because I keep track of my classes a dozen different ways, but it’s just a dream.

Print your syllabus, actually read it, highlight your due dates and write them down. Not just in one place, all of them. Put the due dates in your phone calendar, when you have to post on the discussion boards, the last day of the week, etc. Do the same thing on a google calendar or on your computer, and then put them in your planner. I do this at the beginning of the semester and it does take hours, but I’ve never been late on an assignment. 

I use Google Calendar hooked to my phone so I get reminders on my phone, ipad, and laptop. My assignments are in different colors and I set an alert the day before and the morning of the due date.

Online classes have a few different parts to them that are really important. Every online class I’ve taken at has a discussion board that counts as your attendance/participation every week. Usually, there’s a due date for the initial post and then required responses by the end of the week. There’s almost always a quiz or assignment every week, or both. We would either have a quiz and homework assignment or a large project due for my University of Maryland class every week. There will always be something other than just reading material that has to be done to keep the students engaged.

Last September I was taking 6 classes; 2 online and 4 in person at the community college. I color coded my classes so I would be able to find things easier.

Pay attention

I know it’s hard because online classes are more laid back, but you do really have to take notes. Everyone has their own way of taking notes, but it has to be done. Don’t skip a week, and don’t skip out on the textbook. Online classes are not the ones to skip out on a textbook for. The aspect of not meeting face-to-face every week is the lack of effort allowed for the class. They will test concepts that aren’t on the powerpoints because you have to study for the class. 

Be extra

Participation can’t be half-assed. Everything has to be 100% since you are not doing an in person class. Read the rubric for the participation and follow it. Never post less than the minimum, and never ever skip a week. I’ve seen so many people think they can pass if they skip on the discussions, or never reply to other students or skip a couple of weeks. It doesn’t work out. You can afford one, maybe two weeks of no participation credit if you want to pass, but it seriously isn’t worth it. Most participation prompts will take 10-15 minutes max, it’s not that hard. 

A word of caution: 

Everything is off the table with language classes. If you can pass a foreign language class online, please tell me how you did it. I took 3 years of french in high school and I passed, but I never learned how to read or speak or understand french. I tried to take spanish online last semester because I thought it would be fun (I suck), and I failed. Language classes online are a completely different ball game and they are often structured completely differently than other online classes because it’s so hard to learn a language online.