BOONE, N.C. — With the rise of technology, online courses and degree programs have become commonplace, but for many students the shift from face-to-face instruction to a virtual classroom can come with a learning curve.
The staff in Appalachian’s Student Learning Center offers the following tips for success in online classes:
- Class preparation and study habits:
- Treat the course as though it’s an in-person course with predetermined class times.
- Set the stage with the appropriate lighting, space and noise level to create an environment conducive to classwork.
- Manage time by setting specific study hours, tracking upcoming deadlines and setting goals.
- Follow the study cycle — preview, attend and review.
- Use appropriate “netiquette” — a term for internet etiquette — to be scholarly, polite, respectful and professional, and be patient with those who may not be as comfortable in an online format.
- Identify tools in Google Docs, Microsoft Word and other programs that can make it easier to take digital notes on class readings.
- Personal behavior:
- Find motivation, whether through a study partner or an inspirational space, and remember to take frequent breaks.
- Address challenges by asking questions, using available resources and staying in contact with professors and classmates.
“Students have to be very intentional with setting a schedule when taking an online course,” said Heather Lippard, director of academic strategy instruction in Appalachian’s Student Learning Center. “Online classes are very convenient, but they can also be convenient to forget, so it’s important that students designate times throughout the day and week to complete their work.”
Lippard recommends students think about the time of day they are most productive and use that time to study and complete assignments. Watch the Student Learning Center’s video on how to schedule study time for online courses.
In addition to the ability to work from anywhere in the world, online classes offer flexibility in terms of human interaction. Lippard said that in her experiences as an online instructor, some students who may not have spoken up in a traditional classroom environment had more confidence when sharing their thoughts in an online forum.
“In contrast to the on-the-spot format of an in-person class, an online class often gives students the chance to think through their responses before sharing them with classmates, making them more comfortable contributing to discussions,” she said.
Online classes also provide platforms that seek to recreate the personal experience of in-person instruction through forums, virtual classrooms and voice recordings so students and professors have the option to see and hear one another.
“In addition to course content, online classes teach students how to function and thrive in digital environments, which is a very valuable skill set,” Lippard said.
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About the Student Learning Center
Established in 1972, the Student Learning Center at Appalachian State University, which is part of Appalachian's University College, provides six core services designed to make higher education accessible by providing students the insights they need to navigate their college environment successfully. These services include tutorial services and academic strategy instruction, which are offered to all undergraduate students, and four additional services — ACCESS, Student Support Services, As-U-R and Academic Services for Student Athletes — which serve specific groups of students identified as needing comprehensive support. Learn more at https://studentlearningcenter.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.