Prep for Online College Courses: Tools & Tips for Education Online

As any student knows, it’s important to prepare for college before classes begin. This is especially valuable if you are learning online since you will have no one to guide you, and you’ll have to find the ropes on your own.

Here are some quick tools and tips for preparing for your online college classes.

Understand the Technology

Before you enroll in any online college class, make sure you have and are familiar with all of the technology you will need to complete the coursework. Many online classes use message boards and chat rooms for class participation and occasional meetings. Practice using these technologies and interfaces until you are completely comfortable with them well before your class starts.

Here are some tools you will need to complete your online college courses:

  • Computer
  • Phone
  • Reliable internet access (high-speed recommended)
  • Email
  • Word processing software

Some online classes may require additional hardware for live audio or video meetings. If this is the case, you will need some of the following:

  • High-speed internet access
  • Computer web camera
  • Computer microphone
  • Computer headset or earphones
  • Get a Jump On Reading

Because online classes are very reading intensive, you will want to get a jump on the material as soon as possible. The simplest way to do this is to buy any required books and start reading them right away. Even if you consider yourself a fast reader, you can easily to fall behind on the material and find it hard to catch up again.

Find a Study Partner

Many online college classes have online study groups you can join. If this is not the case for you, try to make at least one friend in each class. Your classmates will typically be available via email. It’s always helpful to have a study partner and someone to review your assignments before you turn them in. You’ll also be able to create a network of friends all across the country and share tips for learning online.

Stick to Your Schedule

Online college classes have no teacher standing in front of you making sure you are listening and doing your work. As a result, you will have to be very organized and disciplined to make sure you are accomplishing all of your coursework. Other obligations such as family life and a full-time job can make learning online a challenge. Your best bet is to create a class schedule and stick to it. The most important thing is to not fall behind in your coursework.

To learn more about creating the perfect schedule for your online college degree, read: Optimizing Online Education and Create The Perfect Class Schedule for Your Online College Degree.