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Some Tips for Success as an Online Student

The Internet has made it possible to earn a college degree from virtually anywhere, including the comfort of your own home or office. But while many students assume that earning an online degree is easier than taking the traditional route to knowledge, the opposite is often true.

Earning an online degree requires a level of dedication and hard work that is often far in excess of that required for classroom learning, and it is important for students to be prepared for the challenges that online learning can bring. The more students can learn about the online degree process the better prepared they will be to get the degree they need.

One of the most important things for online students to understand is how the online classroom experience differs from the traditional classroom. Students seeking an online degree need to be aware of the distractions in their environment that could be detrimental to learning. While the traditional classroom allows students to block out distractions and focus on learning, the home or office environment does not automatically block out those impediments to learning.

In order to create an environment that is conducive to learning, students need to shut their doors, turn off the TV and radio and focus on their attention on the class they are attending. Attending an online class should be every bit as involving and all encompassing as attending a traditional classroom. No matter what the subject, blocking out distractions helps online students get the most out of their studies.

Ask Questions
The absence of a physical teacher does not have to be a reason not to speak up in class. The interactive nature of online learning allows students to take an active role in their learning by asking questions of their professors. Do not be afraid to ask questions in class, or to request clarification on something you feel is unclear. Not only will you advance your learning, but you might also help to answer questions your classmates were too shy to ask.

Take advantage of other ways to interact with your online instructors as well. Most online courses allow students to correspond privately with their instructors through email, online chat and other resources. Be sure to find out about these resources and start using them to get your questions answered and learn more about the subject at hand.

Improve Your Reading Speed
Taking a speed reading course before you begin your online studies can be a big help. Reading is a big part of the college learning experience, whether the classroom is down the street or half a world away. Learning to make the most of everything you read, both online and off, will make you a better student. In addition to speed reading courses, some online colleges and universities offer additional help for students who need to improve their writing and comprehension skills. This allows students to learn to the best of their ability by helping them understand and retain more of what they read.

Participate in Study Groups
Study groups are a big part of the traditional college environment, and there is no reason those study groups cannot be a part of online learning as well. Chat with your fellow students, using either traditional email or the instant messaging feature set up by the school. Work out a time that is suitable for everyone in the group, and use the resources available to you to study your subject in further depth.

These study sessions can be a big help to your online learning, both for you and for your fellow students Through online study sessions you can learn more about the subjects you are studying and work ahead of the rest of the class You can also learn from your fellow students, who may have important real world knowledge to offer their fellow online learners.

Research Your Subject in More Depth
One of the advantages of online learning over more traditional forms of study is that when you study online you already have all the resources of the Internet at your disposal. This makes it easier to research virtually any subject under the sun in more depth.

To learn more about the subject you are studying, use popular search engines like Bing and Google, combined with the sites your teachers and counselors recommend. When researching your subjects on the Internet, stick to *.gov and *.edu sites to ensure you are receiving the most accurate and up to date information possible. Review the information you receive carefully and use it to compliment what you learn in class.

Take Advantage of Real World Knowledge
One of the best things about online degree programs is that they are often taught by those with real world knowledge. The importance of real world practical skills in teaching cannot be overstated, and an online degree program can bring that real world knowledge to life in new ways. To make the most of your online learning experience it is important to take advantage of the real world resources you have at your disposal.

Supplementing the information you receive in class with the experience of your colleagues and coworkers is another excellent way to augment your education and continue your learning even after you have left the classroom. For instance, if you are studying computer programming, ask the programmers who work in your company's IT department to review your notes and your rudimentary programs. It is one thing to learn in the classroom, but learning from people who are actually doing the job you are training for can be quite illuminating.

Practice Your Writing
Writing is a critical skill for all college courses, but it can be even more important for online learners That is because in an online course face to face interaction is at least partially replaced with written communication like emails and instant messaging. It is therefore important for the online student to work on his or her writing skills, both before the class has begun and after it has commenced. Working on your writing skills can also make you a better student, since writing notes and communicating with classmates and teachers can help to reinforce what you have learned and allow you to retain more of the material. Get into the habit of writing notes every time you are online, whether you are reviewing a study guide, reading an online textbook or actually attending classes

By using these tips, online degree seekers can increase their chances for success and retain more of what they learn in class. Good study habits and skills are important for all colleges students, but these skills can be even more critical for those seeking to advance their careers and their knowledge with an online degree.

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