There are so many options for distance education now. Whether you’re fresh out of high school or thinking about a recareering, the availability of online learning is on the rise. There is a wide range of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that are available to anyone with access to the internet. Best of all, MOOCs are free! Online learning is a fairly new model of education and exciting to those who love to learn about new subjects or expand their skills in their current expertise.
As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I am always pushing myself to learn more and more about my field. The availability of MOOCs makes learning that much easier. Instead of spending several hundreds of dollars on a hotel stay, flights, and conference fees, I can log on to an online course from the comforts of my home or office.
[Earn professional certifications through Kaplan University.]
One of the biggest challenges about MOOCs is all the distractions around me. Here are my top strategies that have helped me get the most out of online learning.
1. Prior to the class beginning, set aside certain school hours and stick to this schedule. Post your schedule where all your family members can see it, so they can be reminded that you will not be available during these hours.
2. At the start of the course, introduce yourself to the professor with an e-mail. Feel free to include some information about yourself, your passions, and what you hope to get out of the course. Opening the lines of communication with your professor demonstrate to him or her that you are excited to be an active participant in the course.
3. Print the course syllabus and write down any important due dates for assignments, quizzes, papers, discussions, and tests. Put the course syllabus in a location where you can frequently reference it.
4. Stay on top of your assignments or if you have some extra time on your hands, get ahead. There’s nothing worse than not understanding how to complete an assignment at 10 p.m. the night before it’s due and not being able to get in touch with the professor.
5. Be an active part of the online course discussions. Even though you’re not taking the course for credit, a large part of your learning in an online course happens during discussions with your peers and the professor.
6. Become familiar and make the most out of all the online learning tools that are out there. Did you know that Google tools has a wide variety of programs that will enhance your online education? Check out Google Books and Google Scholar for those important research papers.
7. Be prepared to put in hard work. Just like a traditional classroom course, an online course requires dedication and daily studying. The more you put into the learning, the more you will get out of it.
Good luck in your online learning adventure. MOOCs can be a worthwhile and a rewarding way to expand your learning without ever having to leave your house! With an online course, the possibilities are limitless.
Mindi Stavish is a working mom with two silly boys, Xander (age 3) and Noah (age 1). She spends her work days helping children with their speech, language, voice, and swallowing disorders. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child’s speech, language, and feeding development through everyday moments. Connect with Mindi on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+.