Online class mistakes happen! It’s not surprising that they do either when you consider the fact that around 68 percent are experienced professionals trying to balance the demands of their careers, families, and financial obligations, with advanced degree coursework.
In the following article, we’ll be looking at the seven most common mistakes these students make. Learn them, avoid them, and put yourself in the position to succeed!
1. Managing Your Time Poorly
Time management is as important as ever with an online class. You might think differently since you can work on it virtually any time, but this mindset may actually backfire when you get too secure in the autonomy.
Remember Parkinson’s law when it comes to working through an online course. The law, named for author C. Northcote Parkinson, states that work will expand to fill the time allotted for its completion. In other words, if it takes three hours to complete an assignment that you have three weeks to do, it will take you the full three weeks to do it.
2. Thinking Location Does Not Matter
Taking online classes can also proffer a false sense of security to the student. The thinking is that it doesn’t matter where or when you work on it. It only matters that you have an Internet connection.
This is flawed thinking. Location is every bit as important when working on an online class as it is from in-person. Maybe even more important, for two reasons:
All WiFi signals were not created equally. As you take an online course, you will come across a variety of online class materials. Some will be textual while others are heavy on images, audio, or video.
It’s very simple to access textual documents, for the most part, on any WiFi signal. Video is another story. Keep this in mind if you’re choosing to work on a tight deadline from a location with cheap Internet.
There also is the matter of focusing on what you’re supposed to be doing. Working in a bookstore cafe with loud, whirring espresso machines and elbow-to-elbow with customers vying for a piece of the Internet isn’t as conducive to productivity as a quiet, serene environment.
Think about where you work the best. Leave no stone unturned. Make a list of your five favorite spots, so you’ll have options should you get burned out with a location, or it has too large of a crowd (looking at you, Starbucks).
3. Assuming It Will Be Easier
Online classes are not easier, dumbed-down versions of in-person training. You cover the same materials. You just do so without the aid of face-to-face instruction or your peers.
Putting it that way, it’s easy to see how online classes can actually be harder, especially if you hit a wall with a key concept. Since it’s now possible to get advanced degrees online, you can’t fall into the trap of underestimating the material. It’s just as challenging as anything you might encounter on campus.
4. Failing to Participate
Participation is so important to grasping key concepts as they are first taught to you. With online classes, many students create situations where they miss the initial instruction and have to play catch-up.
This won’t bury you if it happens to you once or twice, but you can’t let it become a habit. Talk to your professor outside of class hours if you feel yourself slipping behind. Not only could it be the difference-maker for grades that are on the borderline, but it can also help re-connect you to the material in a way that better resonates than feeling your way in the dark.
5. Learning in Isolation
Virtually every online class time will be captured on video, and those recordings will be available for you to peruse at your leisure. That doesn’t make up for following the live online class schedule, however.
There are advantages that you can get from learning alongside your peers that you won’t be able to get watching the replay. For starters, your peers might not ask the same questions that you do.
That means not getting the answers to the questions you need when you need them. Also, you and your peers tend to learn the same way since you are at or near equal stages of psychological development. Participating in class at the same time allows you to learn from one another as well.
6. Developing Bad Formal Writing Habits
One of the many benefits of online classes is that it allows you to communicate with your professor or fellow students through Internet chat rooms. You don’t have to feel like you’re falling behind or asking stupid questions if you can take care of your question more privately as you learn.
Unfortunately, this format also fosters the use of Internet slang like “brb,” “omw,” or “idk.” These examples (“be right back,” “on my way,” and “I don’t know,” respectively) might not have a lot to do with your course, but they can be indicative of a greater problem.
You get so comfortable using them and countless others when talking to your peers or professor. Eventually, they leak into your formal writing. From there, it can have real effects on your ability to communicate and succeed on an academic level.
While it’s true there are some most trusted writing services out there that can help with larger writing assignments, it still helps to keep your writing skills sharp. Beware of bad formal writing habits. They will follow you into careers.
7. Disrespecting Class Demands
The last mistake people make when taking online courses is disrespecting the rules or etiquette of the class. This can happen through a variety of ways.
- Not staying logged in during class time
- Avoiding feedback when it could help you get over a learning hump
- Showing up late for live instruction time or not at all
Instructors tend to notice, even if they’re not there looking over your shoulder. Keep that in mind before you treat class time like an afterthought.
These Online Class Mistakes Can Be Overcome
Steering clear of the online class mistakes presented above will help you stay in your professor’s good graces while not falling behind your fellow classmates. It will also keep the pressure off you as the semester progresses.
Best of luck with your online classes, and for more educational tips and articles, check out some of our additional posts!