Saturday, March 21, 2020

Scroll down for:
Basic Tips for a Quick Transition to Online Teaching

Tips for Online Learners
Dr. Marsha Fralick

There are many advantages to online learning but knowing good online study strategies is essential for success.
Advantages of Online Learning
Thinking about the advantages of online learning can help to increase motivation. With online learning, you don’t have to travel to class or spend time in a classroom. You can learn at your own pace and in the privacy of your own home. Online courses are convenient, and save time and money.

New advances in technology have provided powerful tools for online learning. Students from the New Millennial Generation and Generation Z already understand, use, and enjoy the social media and technology used for online education.

Challenges of Online Learning
Learning in a classroom provides opportunities for interaction with the instructor and other students. Some students may miss the opportunities for social interaction and asking questions. Remember to take advantage of online opportunities for interaction and ask questions if needed. 
Discussion boards and chats are the most frequently used tools for interaction. These tools are often required, and points are awarded for participation.

Face to face courses have a definite schedule of meetings. Online courses are more flexible. Getting assignments done with a flexible schedule can be challenging for some students.

Balance Freedom with Responsibility
Online courses generally have weekly learning objectives and modules. This gives students the freedom to choose when they are going to complete course work. There are generally no set days and times for learning. This freedom can lead to procrastination. Students who wait until just before an assignment is due have increased stress and lower performance. Procrastination is the leading reason for lack of success in an online course. One way to avoid procrastination is to think about how online learning is important to accomplish your lifetime goals. Spend your time on what is most important and then reward yourself for getting the work done.

Establish a Personal Schedule
Log into your online course at the beginning of the week to see what is expected. Some professors may expect you to log in more frequently. Then make a plan or schedule for completing the work before it is due. List due dates on a calendar and check them off as they are completed.

Minimize Distractions
We have more distractions in our personal spaces than in a classroom. The most common distractions are related to the technology we are using to learn. While learning online, we are distracted by phones, messages, notifications, and the myriad of connections through social media. Minimize these distractions by putting your phone in another room or turning it off. Avoid browsing the Internet, checking your email or responding to social media while studying. Use these potential distractions as a reward for completing your work. Work first and then reward yourself by checking your phone or browsing the Internet.
Read the Syllabus
Begin your online course by reading the syllabus. It contains important information and explains what is required in the course and how you can earn a good grade.

Online Learning and Memory
The brain learns best with distributed practice and frequent review. This means that it is important to break learning tasks into small parts and review them frequently. It is stressful and ineffective to study or complete projects for large amounts at a time right before an assignment is due.

Review Tools
Review is important to store information in long term memory. Here are some review tools you can use online.
  • Take notes on any videos or presentations. Write down the most important ideas. Review these ideas immediately and then periodically to store the information in long term memory. The physical act of writing notes reinforces memory.
  • Some students find it helpful to read the material out loud, especially if it is complex or difficult to understand.
  • If you are reading online text, see if there is an option for highlighting. Some programs allow you to highlight important points and then print out the highlights. Review what you have highlighted immediately after reading and then review again periodically.
  •  If there is no option for highlighting, print the material and highlight it.
  • Another option is to copy and paste important points into a separate document for review.
  • When reading online, it is helpful to read a small amount at a time rather than marathon reading sessions. Reading a small amount helps with motivation and retention of the material.
  • If you are required to learn detailed information, make flash cards and review them frequently.
Online Assessment
Online assessments generally de-emphasize objective exams and rely on creative projects. For example, in the place of a final exam, a final creative project may be required. Spend the time needed to complete these creative projects and showcase your best work. Ask your professor if you can use creative media or video to complete your project.

Expect More Writing
A classroom involves more speaking in contrast to an online course that requires more writing. If you dislike writing or find it difficult, try these ideas:
  • Understand what is required. Is there a grading rubric that details how points are earned and what is expected? Is there a requirement for a certain number of words or pages in your paper? Are you required to write a formal paper or is it more informal writing such as a response to a discussion that requires your personal thoughts?
  • Begin with free writing. Free writing is just writing down whatever comes to mind without worrying about perfection. This technique can be helpful to get started and come up with ideas for writing. Free writing is not the finished product. It is a way to begin.
  • Organize your thoughts into paragraphs with the main idea and supporting detail.
  • If you are writing a paper, put your first draft away and look at it another day. This will help you to review and edit your work. 
  • Begin early. 

These tips can help you to enjoy the advantages of online learning and to be successful in your online courses.

Additional Resources

Student Blog

Here are some useful videos on how to learn online:

Tips for Online Learning

Contact if you would like a .pdf of this blog to share with your students. 

No comments:

Post a Comment