Online education is growing at a pace that far exceeds general education enrollment. Because of the popularity of online learning, many traditional universities are offering online courses. Forbes recently reported that MIT will soon offer free education for everyone. With all of the online options available, students may be confused as to where to go for helpful information. There are plenty of sites available to help online students find schools, locate loans and even determine majors. What is not as readily available is information about how to be a successful online student once he or she is enrolled.
The following is the top 5 list of things that can help the new online student succeed once they have already chosen their school and major. Click on the blue links for more information about each topic:
- Learn Goal Setting – Read about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (sometimes also Results-Based), and Timely (or Time-Bound). Students should set S.M.A.R.T. education goals. Those that neglect to do this may find that it takes them longer to graduate, while they waste time and money.
- Learn Tools Offered – Most online universities offer some extremely helpful writing, editing and plagiarism-checking tools. The school’s online site may also have helpful tutorials to explain how to use the software (also known as the platform) that delivers the classroom information. Learning how to navigate in the online classroom may take a little time. However, after taking the first class, many students feel more confident in their navigating abilities.
- Use the School’s Library – Students may forget that their university has an online library. It is important that students do not get in the habit of searching for information using Google, Yahoo! and other similar engines. A well-written paper is supported by peer-reviewed articles. These may be easily found using the school’s search engines located in their online library.
- Learn APA – APA stands for American Psychological Association. For college students, APA refers to the format in which papers should be written. While APA may seem daunting to the new learner, there are some very useful examples of APA papers online that can help explain the requirements.
- Learn How to Cite – Professors often require students to cite research in his or her papers. Most often they must cite in APA format. There are some helpful sites to help students learn how to cite correctly. Students must also learn how to paraphrase, include in-text citations and avoid plagiarism.
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