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How To Thrive in an Online Class

Shea Huffman
R U ready for eLearning?

Almost everyone enrolled in college is going to have to take at least one online class in their lifetime. While it may seem like cakewalk work, in reality it is far from it. The workload can verge on extensive, due-dates loom overhead like a rain cloud, and the face-to-face aspect of most classes is dashed. 
If you are considering an online class, you may be wondering how you’re ever going to have the ability to juggle so many responsibilities. A good place to start is Estrella Mountain Community College’s own eLearning webpage— take the eLearning Orientation and determine if eLearning is right for you.

If you’ve taken the plunge and are ready for an online class, this guide is for you.

1. Have a Reliable Computer
A specific rule-of-thumb for online classes is to always make sure you have a reliable computer at home, booted with the capability of reliable internet access. You never want to be faced with a situation where your computer isn’t working or you don’t have internet access. Remember, in an online class or even hybrid, the main means of communication with your teacher and getting homework turned in on time is through the computer, so a reliable computer with trustworthy internet is key. However, say your computer stops working—crashes all of a sudden at 11p.m. when you’re trying to submit that midterm essay and you nearly have a heart-attack, right? You may be wondering what to do if this unfortunate turn of events decides to roll your way. Well, step two has you covered.

2.  The Back-Up Plan(s)
It’s always important to keep a back-up plan under your sleeve in case of emergencies. Just like fire hydrants are used for emergencies, you can use your back-up plan(s) to help act as a safeguard when you need it. If your computer decides that the day to shut down is in the middle of an important assignment that you were trying to turn in, one that will possibly cost you half of your grade, use that lifeline to get your help. A back-up plan for online classes should be something along the lines of using a computer down at the library, knowing a friend that could let you borrow their computer or, in the event Canvas is malfunctions, being ready to submit the assignment in a different way, say by emailing it to your instructor. A flash drive is a must-have to backup all data, just in case your files get deleted from your computer.  With back-up plans, you will always have something to fall back on.

3. Be Technologically Savvy
Speaking of falling back on things, it will always be beneficial to you in an online class to be technologically savvy. Nowadays, it is pertinent that one be able to easily operate and navigate a computer, and for online classes, to be proficient operating the class’s eBook or other required materials. In addition, one must be able to surf the web and use whatever Learning Management System the school has for their classes; in EMCC’s case, Canvas. If you do not know how to use Canvas or are a little rusty on the subject, you can always go to the Computer Commons in Estrella Hall on campus to receive help with it.

4.  Remember, the Teacher is Your Friend
Your teacher is someone you can fall back on. If you ever need help or assistance, they are always there to mentor and guide. Alternatively, remember you can always use the Tutoring service (free, available at Estrella Hall South). Check and see if there are specific tutoring hours for your discipline. It’s always advisable to schedule an appointment.
If you are having technical problems, don’t forget to try Computer Commons or customer service first, because the teachers are not the ones who run Canvas, nor can they always help you troubleshoot. However, any help you need pertaining to an assignment or question about the class would be something in their wheel-house, and they will gladly assist.

So now that you know all the steps toward passing an online class, you can now confidently sign up for that class you need. Just remember--you should always try to stay ahead of the game and keep up on your work, and never let yourself fall behind, or else you may get left in the dust. Keep a reliable internet, be technologically prepared, and never be afraid to ask for help.

With drive and determination (and tips like these) you will not fail!