Being an online student can be challenging. While you have the freedom to set your own schedule (for the most part), a lot of responsibility falls on you. If you are struggling or need help, no one is there to check on you. That does not mean that you have to be in this alone.
In my years of taking online classes, I found one simple trick that helped me make my life a lot easier. Do this and you will have a better experience and might even end with a better grade too!
Introduce yourself to the professor
Sounds simple, right? This is a good tip for in-person classes, but for online students, this is especially important. Take the time to talk to your professor, even if it's a quick fly-by.
I have found that when I introduce myself, the teacher is more helpful when I need it. They also spend more time with me when I need help.
When you are in an online class, you have even less opportunity to interact with the professor. A quick email can go a long way. I send the same thing each time, and I always get a great response. I'll include it below so you can have an idea of what this looks like.
Hi Professor (name),
I wanted to reach out and introduce myself. My name is Andy Brown and I'll be joining your (class) online class.
I'm very excited to start your class. I'm a Junior, but this is only my second semester at ECU. I transferred over the Summer. I'm a Communications major, minoring in Business Administration.
(Include a little personal fact about yourself, e.g. "I write for the Odyssey online for East Carolina University")
I wanted to say hello and to tell you I'm ready for a great class. Looking forward to it!
Every time I have sent this, I have gotten a positive response from the teacher. Anytime I had a question or I needed help, the professor knew a little bit about my situation and was more lenient. I can't recommend this enough.
College professors are here to help us - it's not an us-versus-them thing. It wasn't that long ago that they were students too. They understand that there is a thing called "life" that happens outside of the class. While your teacher may have a "no late assignments" policy, you might find that they can be forgiving under the right circumstances.
Make an effort to stand out from everyone else by introducing yourself at the beginning of the semester. And be sure to build a rapport with them throughout the semester. You will find that teachers are more receptive when they see a student that wants to learn, rather than just another face that is here to collect a grade.