Finding success and personal development in online courses
Students are often considered the best jugglers. Trying to balance school, work, and extracurricular activities among other responsibilities at the same time can be nearly impossible. Online learning can be a great route for those who have little time to be physically present on campus. If you’ve concluded that online courses are for you, UW-Whitewater offers a variety of courses and even entire degrees earned exclusively online. Taking virtual classes can provide a unique opportunity for students looking to earn credit without sticking to the specific time and location of an in-person class.
Apart from offering singular online courses, UWW-Online offers bachelor’s, master’s and certificate programs that one can earn from the comfort of home without sacrificing the quality of education. UWW-Online is ranked #11 among regional public universities, and the online bachelor’s degree program is ranked #44 in the nation by US News & World Report.
UWW-Online even offers a “Test Drive” feature where students can try out CANVAS, UWW’s chosen online learning platform, without applying or registering. This can give students and prospective students an idea of what online courses look like and how they are organized.
Besides the obvious convenience factor, there are many ways online courses can help students grow personally as well as hone skills they could use in future careers and life in general. They encourage character development by requiring independence, drive and self-motivation. They require the development of skills in the areas of organization, time management and prioritization. While online education demands a lot from the student, it is not without its advantages. England Major Brooke Pederson says working at your own pace and being able to step away from class when needed is a huge plus.
“I was successful in my online courses because I am very motivated and I work and learn best when I am allowed to work at my own pace. Online courses give me the opportunity to spend a lot of time working on it a day and then take a few days when I don’t watch it when there’s a lot of other stuff going on,” says Pederson.
She goes on to say that choosing a learning environment that works best for you is a huge advantage, because not all students do well in a typical classroom.
“…I can take my laptop to a coffee shop and work there, or I can watch a lesson video from my couch. Online classes are a great way to learn if you’re really busy or struggling with the intensity and pressure of a traditional classroom environment.
Students who want to do well in online courses should plan to hold themselves accountable for their role in progressing in the classroom. Taking online courses is certainly not the easiest route, but rather an alternative where student expectations are similar to those of their in-class counterparts, aside from the self-guided aspect of virtual courses. Although there are advantages to online learning, there are also disadvantages. The freedom of virtual learning may be too loose for some, as Pederson explains the importance of staying motivated and allocating time to your online classroom work.
“You have to be motivated and ready to put in the time. It can be difficult to set aside time to work on an online course if you work a lot or have other in-person classes to do your homework as well. You have to be very independent to be successful. I have found that my online classes sometimes take longer than my in-person classes due to the difference in structure. »
History major Faith Long agrees that online schooling is not without its challenges. Finding the routines and tricks that work for you, coupled with some prioritization and a lot of hard work, will give you a great chance of achieving the result you are looking for. She offers helpful advice by describing how keeping your study space separate from your living space helps maintain a balance between school and life.
She explains “…most definitely the biggest challenge in taking online courses in college is the task of separating your study space from your relaxation space. Dorms make it difficult, but I’ve found that doing my work at my desk or in the common area of our suite allows me to finish my work and keep my bed as a free area to work in, that way at the end of the day, I have a place to relax and unwind that doesn’t completely revolve around schoolwork.
Online schooling, whether through singular online courses, certificate programs, or degree programs, can be a helpful alternative route to achieving educational goals. Although not without drawbacks, it can contribute to personal and professional development and provide students with freedoms and benefits not found in traditional classroom instruction. Long gives students a vote of confidence:
“Online courses require a little more personal devotion, but succeeding in them is entirely possible!”