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Academic Insider: 3 Secret Tips on How to Pass Your Online Class

Passing Your Online Class is Easier Than You Think!

Passing your online classroom may seem impossible as you balance work, family and schoolwork. As an educator in higher education for over a decade and an online instructor who regularly teaches hundreds of students a year, I have seen what separates students who pass classes from those that do not, and it won't be the answers that you think. Passing your online class is less about who had the highest SAT score in high school, who has the highest IQ or who writes the best five paragraph essay. Follow these simple secrets and you will be heads and shoulders above your classmates!

The Key to Online Success is Time Management

Believe it or not, I have seen more students fail a class because of poor time management than because of any other reason. Students mistakenly think that an online classroom is easy to pass because you do not have to go to class. However, that means that instead of being forced to spend a several hours a week in the classroom and in labs, you have to make the time yourself to study, read the material, and complete assignments. Add to that that most online classes are accelerated course that try to fit eighteen weeks of material into less than half that amount of time.

Your best bet? Buy a calendar or a calendar app and plug in all assignments, readings, and requirements for your coursework. Plan around your regular schedule. If you are booked from morning until night every Wednesday, that is not the night to read six chapters of your textbook or complete the nine page paper on the French Revolution. Be realistic and plan ahead to avoid losing points for skipped and late assignments.
Passing your online classroom may seem impossible as you balance work, family and schoolwork. 

As an educator in higher education for over a decade and an online instructor who regularly teaches hundreds of students a year, I have seen what separates students who pass classes from those that do not, and it won't be the answers that you think. Passing your online class is less about who had the highest SAT score in high school, who has the highest IQ or who writes the best five paragraph essay. Follow these simple secrets and you will be heads and shoulders above your classmates!


The Second Secret to Passing Your Online Class? Read the Syllabus

Your instructor has spent weeks, if not years, developing their course syllabus. Why? So you can pass the course and know exactly what the expectations are for your class. The syllabus is the key to your professor's soul. Read over the syllabus and you will quickly see if your instructor is a stickler for academic integrity, likes pop quizzes, relies on notes for your exams, or is particular about virtual office hours. You will see what the instructor finds important in the text materials or how much he or she relies on good online participation. It still amazes me that so few students sit down with their syllabus.

Remember time management? If your professor values online participation more than assignments, then you can adapt your schedule to ensure that you hit those participation requirements. If you know that your instructor has a pop quiz at least once a week, then spend more time reading your textbook and less time chatting with classmates online. Adapt your learning schedule to the syllabus expectations.

Finally, Talk to Your Family, Friends, and Boss

What is the biggest obstacle for the online student besides Twitter distractions? Outside obligations sap the energy from academic attendance. Whether it's a mother-in-law who needs you to take her to the doctor once a week, a household of children, a needy spouse, a workaholic boss, or your BFF that coaxes you away from your textbooks to blab about their latest relationship drama, these distractions prevent you from accomplishing your goals.
While you cannot help real emergencies and your job when you study, you can set up hours ahead of time that are to be uninterrupted study hours. During this time, your family, friends, and coworkers need to leave you alone so you can pass your online class. If you figure that the typical accelerated online course probably needs at least ten to fifteen hours of study and work per week, but you are finding that the much-needed time seems to melt away between kid's soccer practice, your long work hours, a family illness, or a needy girlfriend, then you will need to ask yourself whether the lost hours here and there are worth the hundreds or even thousands of dollars lost for every failed academic course.

Wrap-Up

If you want to pass your online course, follow a few simple tips. Learn how to manage your time effectively, mark up the calendar with upcoming assignments, and read your syllabus. Set up strict uninterrupted study time each week and talk with your loved ones about the importance of your study hours. Follow these easy tips, and you will pass your classes with flying colors.

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