5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Online Classes
By Ashford University Staff
The decision to continue your education isn’t always easy to make. However, earning a college degree can be one of the most rewarding and gratifying accomplishments you can achieve.
Fortunately, we live in an era where online classes have bridged the gap between potential students and higher education. But if you’ve never taken an online course before, you might make mistakes, and your academic career could potentially suffer.
To ensure your success, let’s cover some of the common mistakes you’ll want to avoid when starting online classes.
Whenever you procrastinate and put things off until the last minute, you tend to rush to get things done. This delay ultimately leads to missed deadlines and a poor end result. The same thing goes for when you start online classes.
As a new student, it’s important that you give yourself enough time to get acclimated to the online format. That way you aren’t scrambling to figure things out when your first assignment is due. Start your class off on the right foot and allow yourself some time to get comfortable with your new classroom setting.
Avoiding Your Advisor
One of your most valuable lifelines while attending an online university is a college advisor. It’s imperative to foster a relationship with your advisor and keep an open line of communication between the two of you. If you don’t communicate with your advisor, you might miss out on vital information that pertains to your success within the classroom. Your student advisors are there to help and are happy to assist you during your time as an online student.
Not Having Your Materials for Class
Think back to your time in high school or middle school. There always seemed to be that one student who never had their pencil, or they always forgot their textbook. They never came prepared for class and their grades typically suffered because of it.
Fast forward to today. Even though you’re taking online classes, there will be instances where you’ll be required to have materials for the class. Regardless of whether they’re digital or physical materials, it’s always a good idea to make sure you know what’s required before you start the class.
Not Participating in Classroom Discussions
By not participating in your classroom discussions, you’re missing out on some great opportunities to share your ideas with your classmates. Additionally, one of the many benefits to the online format is that you can speak your mind without having to get up in front of a large audience. This practice may not be an issue for some, but for others, the online format makes it easier to present to the class.
You could also be missing out on the chance to connect with your peers if you’re not participating in the classroom discussions. Just look at what happened between these Ashford University graduates, Jeremy and Linda Phillips.
Jeremy tells the story of how their relationship began: "I met Linda in our online Comparative Religions Course here at Ashford. Our ideas clashed and so did we. Somehow our first impressions changed, and the discussion board posts led to emails which led to phone calls which led to meeting which eventually led to marriage."
Ignoring Your Resources
When you return to college, there will be various resources at your disposal. Most universities provide students the tools they need to be successful through different areas such as career services, health and wellness services, writing tutors, and a library.
Ashford University offers a peer mentoring program called CHAMPS. CHAMPS stands for Collaborative, Holistic, Academic Mentoring for Peer Success. The CHAMPS program matches high achieving, upper-division students (mentors) with new students (mentees) to Ashford University.
Stephanie Kinman, a Military Student Development and Engagement Specialist at Ashford University, states, “This is a great way for the students to feel more connected to the university, especially when all things are online. We highly encourage the CHAMPS pairings to connect via FaceTime or over the phone to make the relationship more real. The students who complete the seven-week program often continue the relationship well beyond the completion.”
As you begin your journey as an online student, there may be some bumps in the road. A few setbacks can be expected whenever you start something new. But if you prepare and stay focused, you can avoid these common mistakes and have a smooth start to your online educational career.
Written by Ben Cummings, Digital Marketing Specialist for Bridgepoint Education.