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The Daily Illini

How to succeed in online classes

Jason Chun, Assistant news editor

The typical classroom in college is vastly different from what most people experienced in high school. In your first year on campus, you will most likely have at least one class in a giant lecture hall with 500 classmates or more. Although not every class you take will be this big, the larger class sizes are what many students have trouble adjusting to.

Yet there are other options when it comes time to pick classes that you may not have been familiar with before.

Online classes are popular among students who want to try out a new subject or fulfill a requirement without having to report to a physical classroom every other day.

They can be flexible with students’ schedules, allowing you to do classwork and homework in your own time. Many students will take online classes at home over summer or winter breaks to take care of extra requirements or to simply get ahead.

Here are some tips that will help you succeed in your online classes.

Set reminders to do weekly assignments

Most online classes require you to submit an assignment or two by a certain time every week. Usually, the professor will post an overview of the semester, listing out the readings and assignments that you will need to complete by the end of each week. While you may be tempted to tell yourself you will remember to do them all by Sunday night, don’t kid yourself.

You won’t remember.

Since you aren’t walking to a classroom three times a week for the class, it’s easy to forget about the work you need to do. Trust me. I

ve been 45 minutes into a new episode of Game of Thrones on a Sunday night, anxiously waiting to see if the writers are actually cruel enough to kill off Jon Snow a second time (don’t worry, I won’t give any spoilers), only to snap back to reality when I realize that I have an assignment due in 30 minutes for my online economics class.

Whether it’s on your phone, laptop or wherever you know you’ll see it, set a weekly reminder a few days before your assignments are due so you that you’ll actually do them on time.

And you’ll have time to do them. More often than not, they’re easy points that can add up at the end of the semester and help you go from a B+ to an A.

Do the readings

In addition to homework assignments and occasional quizzes, you will also probably be assigned readings. Some may be from a textbook that you’ll need to buy and some may be from links that the professor posts.

It may seem easy to blow these off, especially if you’re able to successfully do the homework and quizzes without reading a single page. Maybe it’s because the material comes easy to you, or maybe you know how to navigate the wonderful site that is Google. Regardless of how easy the homework seems, tests are a different matter.

Most tests will be more in-depth and challenging than the work you’re doing week in and week out.

Much of the content will come directly from readings and any video lectures that the professor posts.

Also, more often than not, your exams will be proctored online, meaning that someone can see your screen as well as you through your webcam. Google won’t be able to help you then.

Online isn’t always easier

Many students decide to take a class online because they believe it will be easier than if they took it in a regular classroom setting. However, this isn’t always the case.

While I will admit that certain online classes can seem easier or require less work than their classroom counterparts, it is not always a guarantee.

I’ve had semesters where the one online class I was taking was actually one of the hardest classes I took that semester. It all depends on the subject as well as how you approach the class.

If you follow these tips and stay on top of your work, you shouldn’t have any problem taking online classes.

Jason is a senior in Media.
jpchun2@dailyillini.com

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