A Beginner's Guide to Online Learning
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Student Life

A Beginner's Guide to Online Learning

A brief review of the joys and challenges of learning from my laptop.

A Beginner's Guide to Online Learning
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Although it's a relatively new method of education, online classes prove that you don't have to be confined to a classroom to learn. As I wrap up my first online summer class, I realize that this learning experience has been one of the most engaging and interesting classes I've ever taken.

For the last 8 weeks, my professor sent us YouTube video lectures, prompts, reading assignments, quizzes/tests and activities that personally helped me to retain and implement all the information I learned. Plus, we even got to comment on the posts and work of our fellow classmates, which helped to make this seemingly remote classroom setting more interactive. That was important to me. But what was even more important was the freedom.

Some of my favorite online "classroom" experiences were moments when I would watch lectures in my pajamas while eating a bowl of cereal to watch my professor's lectures. Or sitting in Starbucks taking notes while enjoying a cup of coffee. Or even taking my textbook to the park so I could study in the sunshine. It was all up to me, all on my own time, and I loved how much I learned. However, even though I would definitely recommend this education method, I should offer some words of warning.

Online learning requires several skills in order for you to be successful. Among these are organization, time management, a good memory, efficient communication skills and willingness to fail. These may seem like good tools to succeed at college as well, and they are, but with an online class there's more responsibility involved.

Unlike a physical campus class, you can't run over to your friend's dorm to work on homework together or even ask what the homework was. You also won't be able to negotiate exam deadlines with your professor or ask for the notes from the class you missed when you had to go to your cousin's wedding. Often times the online professor uses a grading website or program to send out tests or have students upload assignments at a specific time. This makes accommodating every single student's last minute requests or random family trips more difficult.

I certainly had my challenges every now and then, but, over all, with practice of the skills for success I mentioned earlier, getting an A is attainable for anyone taking an online class who truly dedicates the time. So if you want a break from a conventional classroom setting, give an online class a try!

Even if a graded class sounds like too big of a time commitment, or too much of a cost, there are free methods of learning that I've tried, and definitely recommend. My favorite's are listed below. Take your education to the next level. As someone who is constantly amazed at the constant innovative opportunity that technology has provided, I hope everyone can take advantage of the information we can now access anywhere, right within reach.

Free online education options:

Khan Academy

Crash Course (on YouTube)

Code Academy

Modern States (free class to prepare for CLEP exams)

TED talks

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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