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How to Succeed in an Online Degree Program

Being successful in a fully online degree program can be difficult, especially if you’ve never taken online courses before or if you’re juggling a full-time career with your education. Two of Logan’s Academic Success Coaches, Stacia Rosen and Terra Kneeland, MA, put together some tips to help all online students find success.

What are the benefits of pursuing a degree that is totally online?

There are many benefits to online learning and pursuing a degree that is completely online. Some of the biggest benefits include flexibility, location and pace.

  • Flexibility: Traditional class schedules revolve around set times, where online learning provides flexibility many students may need. Online learners have much more autonomy with their own schedule, which allows the freedom to juggle outside obligations and fit coursework into their existing schedule when they have availability.
  • Location: School is where the Wi-Fi is! When a student’s job or personal life requires relocation or travel, students do not need to put a pause on their education. Online learning allows for students to pick up the computer and take school with them regardless of location.
  • Pace: Online learning allows for a more self-paced learning experience than traditional classroom settings. Students can revisit material provided in the classroom ‘lecture’ and view the material at their own pace before jumping into the next section. As long as due dates are observed, students can find a pace that works for them.

How will I interact with my peers in an online degree program?

Just because you’re taking courses in an online degree program doesn’t mean you won’t have opportunities to interact with your classmates. Discussion board and group projects are two examples of collaboration that remains in a virtual setting.

  • Discussion Boards: Students have the opportunity communicate with instructors and peers through discussion boards. Discussion boards allow students to have a virtual conversation with their peers similar to face-to-face classroom discussions. Because of this, strong written communication skills are key in an online program. As the program advances, students will master this skill – post by post, week by week, course after course.
  • Group Projects: Some degree programs may require group projects where students interact with classmates on assignments. Students should be sure to communicate their time zone to classmates to properly coordinate schedules.

What are the most important things to remember when taking courses for my online degree?

When taking courses for an online degree, it’s important to remember to prioritize organization and time management, designate a study space, and always reach out for help when needed.

  • Organization and Time Management: Use a planner. Whatever type of planner you use is completely up to you. Put everything on the calendar. Creating a calendar that lays out an entire term can be extremely helpful and can provide a visual of what your term will look like. Prioritizing daily tasks are key, and this can be done though the creation of a to-do list. Any high priority items should be moved to the top of your list and low priority items can be shifted to the bottom of your list.
  • Designated Study Space: Dedicate a space in your home for studying. Make this a distraction-free space where you can focus on your coursework. Utilizing this space will help you stay organized and on-task. Be sure this is a location where you have a strong Wi-Fi connection. Set yourself up for success. Have required textbooks and materials, paper, pens, headphones and a charger so you have everything you need at your fingertips.
  • Reach Out for Help: Take advantage of resources provided by your institution. Most universities will offer resources such as a Writing Center, tutoring services, Career Services, and an academic advisor or academic success coach to help you achieve your goals.

What considerations to look for before choosing an online program?

  • Keep your end goal or career path in mind before choosing an online program. Ask yourself the following questions: Will this degree help me achieve my professional goals? Will this help me advance in my field?
  • Do your research: Find answers to the following questions: Does the institution offer the resources that you need to be successful? Is the program affordable? Does the curriculum align with your educational and professional goals? Is the program accredited appropriately? Doing your due diligence early can save you from any last minute surprises. You are your own advocate of your educational journey.

To learn more about all of Logan’s degree programs, visit logan.edu/academics.