If you’re going to invest in online classes, you are setting yourself up for the best blend of convenience, scalability, and results. Online classes are great because everything is truly on your schedule, to a certain extent. There will still be deadlines, and you may still need to drive to the main campus in order to take your tests. Proctored testing is wonderful because it adds legitimacy to the class. The reason why most of us are doing online classes in the first place is to get deeper into a career. If employers feel like the education isn’t valuable because of academic dishonesty, then they’re more likely to not see your education as a good thing. Yikes! That would be a very big waste of time and money. So take the online classes as seriously as you would a regular class done on campus.
There are some mistakes that students tend to make when they take online classes, and these are mistakes that generally don’t show up in regular classes as much. If you want to get the best value out of your education, this guide will be helpful.
1. Not Taking Online Discussions Seriously
An online class takes place on a centralized platform, such as BlackBoard. The reason for this is that there’s a single place for everyone to gather and talk about the subject at hand. So if you don’t participate in the discussion board posts every week, you’re missing out on a huge portion of the class. If you think about it from the right angle, you’ll see what we mean. Is it really so much to ask that you comment a few times during the span of a week? Not only does it help the other students get to know you, but it helps your instructor realize that you’re serious. If you come to a point in the course where you need some extra credit, they’re much more likely to help you out when they’ve seen you participate. Participation is usually mandatory for many online courses. Even if your instructor doesn’t explicitly require active discussions, you should still do it just to stand out from the rest.
2. Ignoring Instructor Notices
Since your instructor is teaching you online, chances are good that email and e-Learning announcements are the two ways they try to notify you of things going on. If you aren’t paying attention to these notices, you could miss valuable information as well as deadlines. Online classes are completely about deadlines, and missing too many deadlines can cause you to fail the class entirely. That’s a lot of wasted time and money that would otherwise keep you from getting things accomplished.
3. Not Following Exam Protocol Properly
If you’re going to take an online class, you need to make sure that you read your syllabus very carefully. Within the syllabus you’ll find the exam regulations for the class. Generally speaking, your exams will be done at a testing facility with a proctor. Most colleges have a library filled with rows of computers for this purpose. Sometimes there will be a separate testing center. This is done so that a proctor can monitor you as you take the test. There’s no need to fear exams; they’re the same type of exams that you would experience in your offline class. Unfortunately, people tend to wait till the last minute to study. So they’re already stressed out. If you haven’t figured out who your proctor will be at the beginning of the class, then you could run into big delays when it’s time to take your exam. That’s not a good thing; if you wait too long to try to take the exam you could get locked out completely. Even if you’re allowed to take the exam, you might be at the mercy of the proctor’s schedule. This is not something that you want to experience, so skip the worst of things by planning ahead. Get in touch with the school’s proctors and see when they’re available. If they have open hours, then get them to agree to proctor your exams. Most of the time, they will do this for free but there might be a small testing fee for each examination. Knowing the policies up front save you a lot of time.
These points might sound like common sense, but they can often keep a student from getting the best grade possible in a class. Don’t let this guide be the only time that you think about your education. If you’re stuck in a class, the ultimate resource is always the instructor. Get in touch with them and see what they’re really asking for. It saves a lot of stress getting clear answers the first time around, so don’t be afraid to hit send on those important e-mails!