Three Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Online Education

If you’re reading this, you’re already living an online life. Think about it; social media sites let us stay connected with friends and family. Via the click of a button, online shopping allows us to purchase entire grocery lists and have them sent straight to our porches. The internet is a 21st century infrastructure we live, work, interact and study on.

Although this route of modern learning has its conveniences, challenges still come with any academic program — online or traditional.

But fear not. Your success takes priority. Regent University is committed to ensuring students have an experience marked by success. Thanks to the “Learning Assistance” program and departments like Career Services and the Center for Student Development, there are tips, videos and other resources geared specifically for online students.

Think of this as your survival course, your field manual, your map and compass for navigating into a calling of higher education.

Here’s a list of tips for your journey to getting your degree online:

1. COMMUNICATE WITH PROFESSORS

Building relationships with your professors is a vital part of college learning. But unlike on-campus students, you don’t have the luxury of seeing them in person.

You may even complete your degree program from beginning to end without having an in-person interaction — which is fine.

Modern communication mediums bridge the digital gap, replacing haptics with appropriate substitutes. Whether it be through Skype, email, or even phone calls, whichever your preference is, stay in touch with your professors. Remember, your success is their success, and opening lines of communication allows for better feedback and learning opportunities.

2. STAY DISCIPLINED

Although you won’t have classroom sessions to remind you of upcoming assignments, such a void can be filled with a valuable (an arguably more valuable) trait — self-discipline. Take a calendar, a notebook-style planner, or even the reminder app on your phone, and build a realistic, doable set of school-related tasks. For example, block out certain chunks in the evening for reading, writing and other school-related work.

Wunderlist is a personal productivity app available on iPhones, Androids, and Windows smartphones as well as Mac computers. It lets users set reminders, work with other users, and insert tasks into a streamlined, easy-to-use extension of an electronic. It lets users organize their tasks and lists with hashtags.

If you want to take your devotion to self-discipline a step further, have an academic accountability partner — a battle buddy. Ask them to check on you, and not only make sure you’re on-course (pun intended) with schoolwork, but that you’re resting and not unnecessarily overstretching and straining yourself.

3. USE THE TOOLS AROUND YOU

You’re busy and time is a precious commodity. As an online student, having an efficient workflow is vital.

But trying to tackle a workload bereft of the proper resources would be like fighting a bull with a foam sword. As a student, take advantage of time management and productivity tools. If you take on your work without tools, you’ll have a tough time. Just ask the matador sponsored by Nerf.

Studies show that taking small intervals of rest while working actually boosts your ability to work better and more efficiently. For those days of finals and the immense loads of studying and writing that comes with them, look no further than the Pomodoro timer.

This cyclic workflow tool runs in 25-minute intervals. During this time, put your head down and grind away at your assignments. After the 25 minutes are up, the timer gives you a five minute break — “time off.” During those breaks, get up, stretch, take a short walk, or maybe even take a gander at the latest funny cat videos the internet has to offer. In short, work hard, play hard.

After this cycle runs four times, the timer gives you a bigger break. Some timers, such as the marinara timer, even give you the option of changing the size and rate of the cycles.

But regardless of the timer or cycle you choose, just remember: stick to the clock and stay on track.