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5 Avoidable Mistakes When Taking Online Classes

by Margaret Hurst
Marketing Specialist

November 21, 2014

There are a lot of benefits to taking online classes, such as the convenience of attending class when it best fits your schedule. 

With flexibility comes responsibility. A common myth about online classes is that they’re easier than in-person classes. 

That’s just not the case. 

Online classes are just as challenging as in-person classes. Before enrolling, make sure you understand the commitment and the effort required to earn an A by avoiding these five mistakes when taking online classes.   

Mistake #1: Underestimating The Time Commitment

A big difference between online classes and in-person classes is when you learn. Online classes take just as much time as in-person classes, no matter when you review the lesson. Balancing your commitments to your career and family while earning your online degree can make it easy to fall behind.  

Set aside enough time to keep up with the pace of the class. Use the class syllabus to outline your assignments for the semester, then budget your time accordingly. Make sure to check in everyday so you don’t miss anything. 

Mistake #2: Using Unreliable Technology

There’s no excuse for turning in late work, even if you have a bad Internet connection or can’t access the online learning platform. 

An hour before discussions, deadlines and exams, test your technology. Always have a backup plan for if your Internet connection fails and call your university’s Student Technology Center when you have questions. 

Mistake #3: Doing The Bare Minimum

If your instructor asks for three discussion posts from you a week, complete at least five. The minimum doesn’t get an A in in-person courses—or online classes. 

Ask your instructor what criteria must be met to earn an A so that you know your instructor’s expectations. Always think of ways to go beyond the minimum criteria for all assignments, papers and exams. 

Mistake #4: Feeling Alone

Chances are that you’re not the only student taking the online class. There are other classmates just like you in the virtual classroom. Your instructor is also standing by if you need help or if you want to discuss the course material. 

Online class discussions are a great way to break the ice. Use the discussion boards to talk to your peers about assignments, readings or exams. Ask to take the conversation off the discussion board to talk about interests unrelated to class material. 

Mistake #5: Avoiding Your Instructor

Your instructor is someone who can help you get more out of your class and your degree—if you make an effort to reach out. 

Your instructor has real-world experience in your field, so don’t hesitate to ask questions related to the industry or the career you are pursuing. Your instructor can be your mentor as well as provide networking opportunities with others in your field. 

If online classes are right for you, then don’t hesitate to pursue an online degree that matches both your professional and personal goals.

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