College 101

Taking an Online Class? Here are some tips for success!

Online classes at West Hills College are a great option for those who want a more flexible schedule or to work at their own pace. However, some find online classes challenging and struggle. Why does this happen? In many cases, it is because of time management. Since elementary school, we have grown accustomed to going to class, getting face-to-face instruction from the teacher, getting assigned work, and having that cycle repeat until we’re finished with school. With online classes, we don’t get face-to-face instruction and it’s easy to get off track. How can we overcome this wall of procrastination? Well, here are a few tips to succeed at an online class from West Hills College.

Schedule your workload

When you get your syllabus on the first day, take a close look at it. The syllabus will tell you things like when your tests will happen, what chapters you should read for each week, and sometimes the topic of discussions. If you have a planner or calendar, write all that information down so you’ll be on top of the work.

A teacher may open up the homework for the entire semester so you can work on it on your own time. You’ll have the option to work on an assignment a week, but sometimes, you might be tempted to let it pile up a bit until a test comes and you’ll stress out on all of the work that was piled up. The same goes with reading the textbook; you won’t actually read the chapters until a midterm or a test. A great way to avoid this is with the schedule system. If one assignment is in multiple parts and it’s due by Friday, write on your calendar that you’ll do one part a day. This will make that assignment seem easier and you’ll have more time to go over what you did so you can get that perfect score.

Keep on top of your work and stay organized and you’ll find that online classes are much easier to manage.

Motivate Yourself

Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter if you’re taking an online class on in-person, sometimes it’s hard to make yourself do the work. What helps when you’d rather procrastinate than do your assignments is to create a reward system as a form of motivation. Let’s say you have a math assignment that you reeeeaaaaaally don’t want to do. Tell yourself that if you finish it before the due date (or five minutes before it’s due in most cases) you’ll buy that thing you’ve wanted or that dessert that you saw at the grocery store the other day. Find what works for you! Whether that’s checking out our #MotivationMonday posts each Monday on the West Hills College Coalinga, West Hills College Lemoore and North District Center, Firebaugh facebook pages or utilizing a study tool like the Pomodoro method find what works.

Talk to Your Instructors

Don’t be afraid to talk to your teachers. If you have any questions pertaining to the course, your teacher will be more than happy to answer it. Don’t understand something? Contact your teacher! Even if you come across any technical issues, let them know! Most of the time they will be able to resolve the problem.

Sort Out Any Technical Issues

If you have access to a good computer and reliable internet service, then you’ll be on your way to succeeding in your online classes. If you don’t, have no fear! There are many places where these resources are available. You can go to a city library or the library on campus. The pro about using one of the libraries on campus is that they have programs such as Microsoft Office and Photoshop installed on all of the computers which will help you with your courses (and since you’re a West Hills student, you also have the ability to install Microsoft Word for free on your personal computer)!

When taking an online class, it’s best to turn your assignments in a day early. You never know when technical issues occur. Email your teacher as soon as possible if you’re having trouble with submitting an assignment or you don’t have access to a test. By finding this issue early you’ll have time to resolve the problem and get the grade you deserve instead of getting a 0.

Take Notes

Nothing is more annoying than going back through the textbook to find the answer for one of your homework questions. Not only is it time consuming, it’s frustrating as well. The most beneficial way to avoid this is by taking good notes. When taking notes, it’s best to read through the section first to see what’s important to write down and what isn’t. When you read it again, you’ll have a better understanding of that section and you’ll know what to write down.

Take hand-written notes. In an article written by NPR, it has been proven that when you write your notes by hand you retain more information than those who write their notes on a laptop. Create a system of note taking that will benefit you. Make a color coded system with pens and highlighters to emphasize important facts, create your own abbreviations for terms, or create your own style of note taking.

With these tips, you can succeed in online courses at West Hills College!

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