How to Succeed in Online Classes: Top Tips

Mature family nurse practitioner student using her laptop for online learning at home
Mature family nurse practitioner student using her laptop for online learning at home

With the rise of distance learning, college course work is at present more accessible than ever before. Students in remote locations can become part of classrooms halfway around the globe; others can complete continuing education or new degree paths following a full day's work. Though online learning has made our access to education easier, it is by no means an easy path. Carson-Newman University wants to see all of its online learners achieve success - below are some valuable online study tips to help you learn how to succeed in online classes.

Tip #1: Align Your Attitude

One of the best safeguards to securing a successful term as an online student is understanding why you are taking such courses. Some might think, for instance, that online courses are less work or easier to accomplish, so they might seek such classes in an effort to coast through a semester or overload on classes in an attempt to complete a degree faster. On the contrary, online courses are equally as rigorous and engaging as their classroom counterparts, so make sure that your expectations for coursework and time commitment are in line with the course requirements.

Tip #2: Perform a Thorough Tech Check and Review Your Resources

Embarking on online education means first ensuring that your computer system and the course's learning management system (LMS) are in sync. Once your online classroom becomes available, move through the different sections of the course you will need to access and test  all of the elements, from slide decks to practice quizzes, to ensure they are working properly. Most of these complications can be fixed by checking in with Carson-Newman’s Online RN-BSN technical support team, available 24/7, so double check these connections before the course begins to save you stress.

In addition, it is valuable to review the myriad of resources available to you within your Carson-Newman LMS. One of the biggest perks of the online course experience is that you can access a world of information; no longer solely dependent on a single textbook, online students have access to articles, essays, videos, and sound clips that accentuate their learning experience. Accordingly, make sure you are primed to take advantage of these resources, which are key to learning how to succeed in online clases.

Tip #3: Form a Foundation with Your Faculty and Classmates

One of the most exhilarating aspects of the online course experience is being part of a virtual classroom. With Carson-Newman classmates and your faculty member adding material and contributions around the clock, every check-in will mean a new opportunity for learning.

Reach out to the Carson-Newman faculty member leading the class to introduce yourself and ask any questions you might have about the expectations for assignments, projects and participation in the semester ahead. You could, for example, familiarize yourself with the professor’s contact information  and virtual office hours and ask for advice or tips on tackling assignments and class topics, so you are set up for success.  Establishing a relationship with your professor early on reinforces your desire to learn, and opens up a line of communication for questions throughout the semester and beyond.

Sometimes students are uncomfortable with reaching out to their professors with questions because they think they are silly or too small, but these fears disappear when  open communication has already been established. The same goes for communicating with your classmates. You can participate in discussion forums and even set up your own virtual study group to reinforce the social values of learning and networking with your peers.

Tip #4: Schedule Your Online Sessions

Not having a set class schedule doesn't mean you shouldn't schedule your classes. One of the biggest pitfalls for online learners is managing the freedom that comes with online learning. Be sure to plan enough time to dedicate  to your studies, so you are set up to succeed in the class. For peak effectiveness as a Carson-Newman online student, manage your schedule on a weekly basis to ensure you have the adequate time to complete your coursework.

Tip #5: Create Your Own Classroom

In addition to setting aside time for your online coursework, you should also set aside a working space that is conducive to learning. Online classes can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection, but choosing to study in a busy, loud, or distracting environment can detract from your learning and diminish your results. A study published by the American Psychological Society in 2011 looked at the impact of noise pollution on developing minds showed that our abilities to think and to learn is inversely related to the level of ambient noise around us (that is, the more noise there is around us, the less information we retain). Additionally, many online course quizzes and assignments are timed, which means you want to work with ultimate efficiency; interruptions from family or friends can end up negatively impacting your course grade.

Online coursework is an exciting new aspect of higher education, and Carson-Newman University shares in the global enthusiasm for the possibilities of this revolutionary new mode of learning. The key tricks for how to succeed in online classes are easy to put into practice for those with the discipline and the drive to do so. With these online study tips in hand, our online nursing program students who embark on online coursework will be primed for an educational and engaging online learning experience.