Tips for Online Classes

Good morning, Renegades!

Hope you all had a great first week of class and a nice weekend.  I know I did— I enjoyed the pleasant weather we had this weekend after all the rain lately (though, I guess rain is ‘good weather’ considering the drought).

Last semester, I posted some tips for starting up a new semester of school. However, most of the tips were specific to “real life” classes. This semester, I’d like to give some tips on taking (and succeeding in) online classes. I’ve taken multiple online courses throughout my time at BC, and this semester I’m taking two! They can be very convenient— but they can also very easy to underestimate.


 

Put important dates in your calendar

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This is something that may seem like a “no-brainer”, but it’s also something that is very easy to forget about or to fall behind on and the repercussions can be dire. You might say “well, isn’t keeping a schedule an important part of succeeding in every class?” Well, yes— but it is especially important in online classes. Because you aren’t physically attending a class multiple times a week, you don’t have the professor physically reminding you about upcoming due dates. So, you have to take more precautions to ensure you don’t miss deadlines!

Some professors create a calendar on Moodle that you can “export” to your native calendar app (wether that is iCloud Calendar, Google Calendar, or Microsoft Mail & Calendar). This is really convenient and something I love seeing.

Here’s a brief tutorial:

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On the main page of your class Moodle, there will be a box that says “Upcoming events” on the right-hand side. Click the “Go to calendar” text in this box.

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On the next page, make sure you bubble-in the “This month” section (most teachers don’t schedule farther in advanced than this in my experience). Then, click the “Export” button.

This will download a “.ics” file that will have different names depending on your OS— on my Mac, they are called “iCalExport.ics”. Either way, if you have a default calendar app on your device, opening this will take you to it and give you the option to add it to your calendar.

Not all professors do, though. Only one of mine did— the other did not. But she did post all the assignments and their due dates on Moodle. So, in this case (obviously) just input the dates manually in your calendar of choice. Yes, it may seem like a bit of tedious work, but in the end it will be worth it. Trust me.

REMEMBER TO ADD ALERTS/REMINDERS.

This is important— it doesn’t do you much good to have your assignments in your calendar if you forget to check it before the due date. Make sure you set up a multiple alerts/reminders. I usually give myself two— one the “day before” and another one “two hours before” to make sure I don’t forget to have them turned in.


 

DON’T PROCRASTINATE

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I know this is easier said than done— trust me, I know…But, still something that needs to be said and  done. I actually once failed a class I was taking over the summer because I put off taking one of the exams until the last day it was due. Unfortunately, I also happened to be camping at the beach with absolutely zero internet connection. Oops.

Another time (yes, this happened multiple times- I told you I knew about procrastination) I left the test to the last minute and realized that I had accidentally mixed up the time a test was closing because I thought it was going to be the same as homework had always been (due Sunday nights at 11 PM). Instead, he had given us three days to take the test from when he opened it Thursday morning to Saturday night. Oops again.

Turn things in early. ESPECIALLY exams. Tests are always worth the biggest chunk of points in most classes, but it appears to be especially true for online ones (since there is really no way for professors to give participation points or pop-quizzes when you aren’t actually physically attending a class.) Trust me, the last thing you want is to have to retake a class because you missed the deadline for an exam.


 

Set aside a time and place to do your work

 

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One of the best things about online classes is that they work around your own personal schedule. No need to be at school at a specific time on this day and that day. That’s super convenient!

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that that means you don’t have to actually set aside a time and place to do your work. You may think that you can just squeeze in time between/after/before work/other classes/other commitments, but that’ll just cause you stress and risk you missing points on assignments & tests from rushing them or being distracted.

Treat your online homework and tests the same way you would treat “normal” homework and tests— don’t try to complete your weekly quiz on your smartphone during your break at work. Don’t try to take your test while making dinner and soothing a crying baby. It may not be easy, but it’s in your best interest to set aside a time and place to do your work. Schedule some time once or twice a week (depending on how often you have assignments due) where you’re free from distractions and can focus on completing your work. If you have a test, block out the time for it (the max time allowed for tests is always posted next to the test on Moodle) and go take it at the library or somewhere else quiet. Remember that while all the other things in your life are very important, so is doing well in school. We wouldn’t be enrolled otherwise!


 

That’s all for now, Renegades. Hope you have a fantastic second week back at school!

Keep a look out for my next post this weekend, where I review a new restaurant that opened in town! (If you know this blog, you probably know which one I’m talking about ;))

See you soon!

-Sal

 

 

 

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