MOOCs: How to Thrive in School in an Online World

MOOCs: How To Thrive in School in an Online World

You may be scared when first beginning a MOOC (massive open online course). Understandably so. You might not know what to expect, you may have never taken an online learning course before, let alone one of this size, or you may just have the first day of class jitters. New situations are always a little bit scary, but with the right tips, tools, and a little guidance, you’ll be on your way to succeeding in your web classes in no time!

1. Choose a Course that Interests You
Why choose an online course in something that doesn’t interest you? That would just be silly and a waste of your time. When choosing your MOOC, be sure to choose one that you know you would be interested in, keep up with, and that will ultimately help you in your current career or help you with a future profession you plan on working towards.

2. Show Up & Do the Work
One of the most convenient aspects of online courses is that you don’t have to physically go somewhere to “show-up,” but you should be physically and mentally present during any webinars or discussions that are being given during MOOCs. Sometimes when we’re not receiving credit for something, some of us tend to slack off and not try as hard as we would if we were receiving credit. Remember that you’re receiving this information and knowledge for free and the only way you’ll really benefit from it is if you do the work that coincides with the program.

3. Stay Organized
Staying organized with any class, especially MOOCS, can be a challenge, but with a few useful tools, it can be done. The first tool I’d suggest is to invest in a planner or utilize a calendar on your phone or computer. When you first start your class, I recommend writing down all of the necessary due dates, quizzes and tests to keep everything straight. Another recommendation I have is to make lists. Keep a daily list of the tasks you need to complete or a weekly list of the assignments you need to do, whatever works best for you. With either method, you’ll be less likely to forget to do an assignment or reading and more likely to do better in your online learning.

4. Practice Time Management
Time management and organization go hand in hand in my opinion, but if you’re going to be successful in MOOCs, it’s crucial. A lot of students are not just taking a MOOC, but are responsible for caring for a family and possibly a full-time or part-time job as well. With the calendar I mentioned above, set aside specific days and times that will work for you to focus one hundred percent on your coursework. This may have to be after the kids go to bed or during the weekend when you’re not working, but if you’re dedicated to your education and interested in the class you’ve chosen it should be more fun than punishment, right?

5. Ask Questions
Remember that your instructor can be a huge asset to you and your success. Since you’ve chosen a MOOC with a topic that interests you, why not take advantage of your time in the class and ask as many questions as you can to learn as much as you can?

6. Stay Motivated
Motivation can certainly be a struggle when you’re taking an online course, but remember that you’re doing this to benefit you and your education or maybe even further your career. If that’s not motivation enough, set up little goals and rewards for yourself along the way. For example, if you complete a certain amount of assignments, treat yourself with a coffee from your favorite coffee shop. Having little rewards along the way will help increase your drive to complete the tasks you’re assigned and will help you to complete your internet education.

7. Study
Studying for MOOCs can take some serious motivation, but if you utilize the above methods and set aside specific times to study and build studying into your routine, you’ll do great. Dive into the material and learn all that you can!

8. Have Confidence
Whether you’ve consistently taken classes for years or this is your first class since high school, you may be a little nervous. Just remember that you’re more than likely not alone in these feelings. There’s probably a good handful of people in the MOOC with you nervous about starting the class. Take a look in the mirror, put your shoulders back and say, “I can do this!”’

9. Collaborate with Others
Being in an online course, you don’t get the immediate gratification of live discussion and feedback from your classmates, but it’s important to still seek out interaction and bounce ideas off of others in regards to the material you’re learning. Share the information you’re learning with a friend or better yet, talk your friend into taking the MOOC with you so you both can benefit not only from a free educational course, but also from a classmate relationship.

10. Don’t Give Up
Yes, MOOCs are free so you’re not out any money if you just throw in the towel and give up. However, if you do choose to stop, you’re losing out on the time you’ve already invested in your coursework. Remember, nothing worthwhile is easy!

[If online learning interests you, consider earning an online degree from Kaplan University.]

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