If you choose to take an online class, you're joining countless other students who have decided to take advantage of distance learning options. If you're looking to get more than just the basics out of your class, though, you'll need to do a little bit of extra work. Below are a handful of ways you can get the most out of your online class.
Talk to Your Professor
If you were taking an in-person class, you'd have plenty of chances to get to know your professors. You'd be able to go to office hours and make an impression so that you'd be able to develop a better working relationship. If you really want to get the most out of an online class, you'll want to do something similar. Email your professor early on and see what you can do to connect. If you can open up the lines of communication, you'll be able to have a great working relationship with your professor even if you're learning at a distance.
Connect with Your Classmates
Most online classes have some kind of group component. Whether it's posting on a class message board or working together, you'll have several opportunities to connect with your classmates. Instead of simply doing the minimum, why not try to make a study group with your classmates? Not only will this help to expose you to more viewpoints when it comes to the course, but it will also give you a chance to make the connections you'll need to get through other classes in the future. You can also connect with them to get help with your homework.
Connect it to Your Life
There are more connections between the classes you take online and your life than you might imagine. Instead of just looking at your class as an academic experiment, try to ensure that you're actually applying what you're learning. This can be incredibly useful for those who are working full-time while they are taking classes, as they can actually start to apply their career-relevant knowledge before they get their degrees. Always make sure that you look for ways to use what you're learning in class.
Go Beyond the Course
Don't just look at the material you learn in your course as the end-all and be-all of your academic experience. Instead, try to find classes that you can use as a jumping-off point for your own explorations. If you're taking an online history course, for example, don't just read the text - visit a museum that talks about the same subject. Your course should work as a general exploration of a topic that you can then further explore on your own time.
Do the Coursework
Finally, make sure that you're actually doing all of the work. The sad truth of some online courses is that you can skate through if you just do the bare minimum. Instead, read all of the texts and do all of the assignments - you'll learn more and be able to actually apply that knowledge to your future courses. The more seriously you take your classes, the better the experience you'll end up having.
The type of experience that you have in your online course is up to you. If you are willing to do the work, reach out to others and apply your knowledge, your online class can be an incredibly meaningful experience. Whether you're taking a class for your major or just because you want to learn more about the subject, you should give that class the effort that it really deserves. Once you get used to giving an online class your all, you'll be able to craft a better educational experience for yourself.