7 Tips for Taking an Online Class

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 15, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Taking an online class can expand your skills and make you more valuable to potential employers. Regardless of the specific nature of the class, it can have a direct impact on your career prospects. Choosing an appropriate online class can be a valuable career move, but it requires research. In this article, we discuss what the main benefits of taking an online class are and provide tips on how to succeed when taking such a class.

What are the benefits of taking an online class?

Some of the most important benefits of taking an online class are:

  • The schedule is flexible. If you have other important time-consuming activities, such as a family or a part-time job, taking an online class can give you the flexibility you need to create a structured and well-balanced schedule. Having the opportunity to log in for the class at any time and from any place with an internet connection allows you to complete the class without letting it interfere with other activities.

  • It eliminates the need for transportation. Physical classes require students to have access to transportation, which can be a logistical and financial issue. Online classes eliminate this need, as they don't require your physical presence.

  • It's typically less expensive. Given the fact that online classes are less expensive to hold, as they don't require a physical location, they tend to cost less than in-person ones. Even in situations where the direct cost of online classes is similar to that of an in-person class, students save money on other related expenses, such as student activity fees, boarding costs and, in some situations, on textbooks.

  • It can improve your tech proficiency. Attending an online class requires you to have at least basic IT hardware and software knowledge. Besides needing to learn how to use a device to access the online class, you also need to learn how to create and edit documents, make presentations, use videoconferencing software, share files, collaborate with fellow students via cloud-based apps and other tech skills that are likely to be useful throughout your career.

  • It allows you to explore new areas of knowledge. The ease of access and relative affordability of online classes can persuade you to seek knowledge in various domains and try out several online classes before committing to one. This can improve the odds of your choice of the class being an appropriate one.

Related: How To Become an Online Professor in 5 Steps

Tips for taking an online class

Consider these seven tips for improving your odds of successfully taking an online class:

1. Give it as much importance as a traditional class

Although online courses may seem like an easier approach to education, if you want to absorb knowledge and useful information from it, you usually have to prioritize it and treat it the same as you would a traditional class. Due to the online classes' flexibility and relative lack of supervision, they may be perceived as easier to take and complete. However, making the most out of an online class requires you to actively work to avoid distractions and keep yourself focused on learning.

Related: 14 Free Online Business Courses To Improve Your Skills

2. Work on your time management

Online classes allow you to set your own schedule, but this can work against you if you don't stay organized and disciplined. Most online courses take about the same time as traditional ones, but you also need to take into consideration the time you need to study, make presentations and other class-related activities. Once you have a feasible schedule, you need to have the discipline to stick with it. Some of the steps you can take to improve your time management are:

  • At the start of the semester, mark all major assignments and their deadlines on your calendar.

  • Create a weekly schedule with all repeating activities, such as attending lectures, studying, reading, completing assignments, working on presentations and other class-related tasks

  • Constantly improve your schedule throughout the semester. You can do that by always evaluating how you spend your time, how long it takes you to perform various tasks and adjusting your schedule accordingly.

Related: 30 Top Online Certificate Courses

3. Network and form connections

Despite its limitations, one of traditional education's most important advantages is that it connects students with many like-minded people, allowing them to create networks of friends, mentors and collaborators that they may use throughout their careers. Students who take online classes usually find it harder to connect and form relationships, so you need to take a proactive approach and make an effort to get to know teachers and fellow students. Although the classes are online, you can meet with other students in person to work on various projects where the situation allows it.

4. Have a regular study space

Although one of the main advantages of online classes is that you can be very flexible with your location, it is usually a good idea to have a place where you constantly study, so you can establish various routines. You can try out various places, such as a room in your house or a table at a local coffee shop until you find the place where you're most focused and creative.

You can occasionally take advantage of the flexibility of online classes and do your work elsewhere, but you're likely to have better overall results if you do most of your work in one place.

Related: 35 Online Skill Courses To Enhance your Qualifications

5. Avoid distractions

The fact that online classes can be taken from anywhere and require a device with an active internet connection means that there are many things that can distract you from focusing on the actual class, such as the people around you, loud music, social media, video streaming websites and others. If you're prone to distractions, you need to take active steps to eliminate them beforehand.

The way you do that depends on your particular situation, but some of the ways include making sure the people around you know you're studying and turning off the notifications from your active devices.

6. Engage with professors and fellow students

The information transmitted through online classes may be more difficult to absorb than it would be in a face-to-face situation, so to compensate for that you should try to actively engage with everyone involved in your class as often as you can. Aside from asking questions and interacting with students during class, you can also join discussion boards to comment on your classmates' papers or ask your professors various questions regarding the projects that you need to complete.

7. Remember to practice self-care

Online classes can be as demanding and difficult as traditional ones and spending many hours every day in front of a computer screen can affect your morale and concentration. Constantly analyze yourself and don't hesitate to take a break when you feel you need it. Taking the time you need to recover can be beneficial later on, as it can give you the energy and focus you need to complete the online class.

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