3 Basic (But Invaluable) Things You Learn in an Online Class
1. Deadline Management
This is the very first thing I learned when I took my first online class. We’ll always procrastinate when we take in-person classes. Something was assigned the first day of class and is due in six weeks? No one starts it until at least week five, and spends the rest of the week freaking out about the fact that it should’ve been started sooner.
However, with an online class, this is even easier to do. Since you don’t physically go to class, it’s so easy to log onto your computer and completely forget to check into your class. This is the biggest mistake you can make. Most assignments can be easily completed the same day it’s due, but that means that you need to be aware of the deadlines.
In my experience, professors are merciless in online classes. Once the deadline has passed, that’s it; you’ve earned a zero for the assignment. Because of this, you really learn to keep in mind all deadlines and learn to be hyperaware of how much time is left until that deadline. If you’ve never kept a planner, now’s the time to start.
2. Time Management
Time management goes hand-in-hand with deadline management, but they’re very different from each other. Like I said, most assignments are able to be done the same day they’re due (I’m guilty of constantly procrastinating to this point). However, to actually be able to do the assignments the same day they’re due, you have to make sure you have enough time complete them.
Personally, I take online classes so that I can take other, harder classes in person and juggle them with a simpler online class. Depending on your time and deadline management abilities, this can be a big mistake. I can guarantee that at some point in the semester you’ll have a single day where all your classes have something due (a test, a homework assignment, and essay, etc.) and you’ve procrastinated on all of them. You spend the whole day ripping your hair out to meet the deadlines of the in-person classes, and at the end of the day you’ll relax when you’re finally done…only to realize at 11:00 p.m. that you completely forgot about your online assignment that closes at 11:59 p.m. You’ll scramble to try and submit it on time (finished or not because something is better than nothing). Of course, this wouldn’t have happened if you had managed your time better to coordinate with the upcoming deadlines.
3. Information Searching
Online classes offer a ton of sources of information. Whether it’s from the textbook, PowerPoints, lecture notes, or anything else, there’s a lot of information to take in. However, people learn in different ways, and not everyone will understand information just from reading it.
Of course, if you can’t understand a large amount of information just through reading, chances are that online classes aren’t for you. Because of this, one of the biggest things you will learn in an online class is how to sift through a large amount of information to find an answer to a question—and quickly, because no one wants to spend too much time looking for answers. It’s not always a simple thing to do, but it is an invaluable skill that helps in all of your other classes as well.