The popularity of on-line learning is increasing. Anyone considering earning their college degree via the Internet should be aware that asynchronous classes are not for everyone. There is no class structure and students never have to look the teacher or classmates in the eye. Individuals who are easily distracted or have difficulty following through without external guidance should consider a brick and mortar education. Any potential student sold on the idea of pursuing an on-line education must practice self-discipline.
Many on-line courses offer only one class per session. This allows the student to focus on that one class. As you prepare to complete the coursework, consider the available time. East Carolina University’s on-line MBA program suggests that students will spending between 10-15 hours per week during the first year of the program and between 15-20 hours per week during the second year. The important thing to remember is that face-to-face classes require close to the same amount of time, including the time actually spent in the classroom.
Because most on-line students are also full-time employees, it is important to set up a daily schedule that is realistic. While the student will have to meet work and class expectations, the time frame must include time to work, time to study and time to relax. Most on-line courses are intense. Some complete a semester’s work in six weeks. Students that do not pace themselves will burn out.
The easiest way for a student to pace himself is for the student to spend time considering all the assignments for the quarter. The work is listed in the syllabus before the class even starts. Pacing out the entire quarter, paying close attention to when assignments are due, will help students design a program that leads to success.
Because most classes are asynchronous, it is up to the student to stay connected. Some universities, such as American Intercontinental University, hold optional class hours that will allow students to participate in discussions, ask questions and form connections with other class members. Students that ‘show up’ for class tend to feel more accountable. This is especially important when completing group work. Setting up a schedule that allows early completion of work increases the learner’s ability to succeed.
Self-discipline is easier practice when there is an organized, enticing work center. This provides a location to keep all work and supplies available so the student can show up at the appointed time, log on to the computer and get to work. It eliminates possible distractions and encourages a good work habit.
Attending college on-line is an excellent way to earn a college degree. Set up a work site, connect the computer and organize yourself. Before long, you will hold your diploma in your hand.