By the time 2017 rolls around, I’ll have dedicated 10 years to online learning and teaching. Wowza. Prior to running my school division’s online program for middle and high school students, I was an online teacher myself. I taught US Government to seniors, many of whom were taking a full course load plus an online class in order to graduate on time.
During the past (almost) ten years, I’ve learned a TON about how to help students be successful in online courses…even those who would be better suited for a face to face class.
Much of their success depends on the support they receive at home. Parental involvement is key for student success in online courses. No, I’m not talking about doing their work for them (who wants to do that anyway?)….I mean teaching and modeling the tools that will help kids be successful while taking online courses.
But what are some what students can succeed, even without their parents?
- Plan a week at a time. As soon as new content is opened up, students should look at both their social calendars and each assignment to make a plan for the week. By looking at each assignment, you can get a better idea of how much time you will need. Also, if you have questions, you can ask immediately and NOT the due date. You have to give teachers the courtesy to get back to you within 24 hours, particularly on a weekend. As a student myself, I stayed up late doing work. It was my most productive time. But guess what? Most teachers are sleeping in the wee hours of the morning and will have to get back to you later in the day.
- Ask for help as soon as you need it. Sounds simple, right? One of the biggest barriers for success in an online course is students not asking for help as soon as they get stuck. The reasons range from “that’s probably a dumb question” to the old adage of “out of sight, out of mind.” In a traditional classroom, you get immediate responses from your teacher. Even if you don’t ask a question, your classmates will….and it’s an old habit that is hard to break!
- Put the time in. I say this because online learning is transparent. Your teacher can tell how long you spend on each topic and whether or not you even viewed the content before taking the unit test and/or quiz. Furthermore, you should be spending just as much time in an online course as you would if you physically went to class.
Here’s the thing….if you wait until the last minute, ignore your online course (and teacher that is trying to help you) then you can expect to struggle. Don’t make excuses….figure it out!
Parents and kiddos….let me know if you need advice with online classes…!