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How is Life of an Online Student Different?

Online high school student

Online learning is fast becoming a central feature of our education system where it is starting to play a more and more dominant role in students learning in schools, universities and colleges. A recent survey showed a year-on-year decline in traditional on-campus college/university enrollment while online enrollments saw an increase.

Students enrolled in Online Learning)

The same impact can be seen in schools where students are taking the opportunity to take courses online that may not be offered in their home school or where timetable conflicts that may be limiting their course choices.

Advantages of Online Students Experience Over Traditional Students

The Journal of Public Affairs Education published a study that compared the effectiveness of online learning with in-classroom learning that found:

  • While online education tends to have less sense of instructor control, group dynamics were more favourable.
  • Group contact tends to be continually maintained in online learning, but in the classroom setting, there was little group contact between classes.
  • Because of the distributed model of group studying, members may be slower to respond in the online setting.
  • Although response time may be longer online, the quality of feedback tends to be more detailed and focused than in the classroom setting.

The study also found less sense of anxiety in an online group dynamic, and the quality of the technology has a big impact on student experiences.

What Makes a Good Online Student?

The above study suggests that the shift from traditional classroom-based learning to online learning can bring about a change in behaviour on the part of students; although to determine whether this will work on an individual basis, a student needs to consider:

Learning Style
Being comfortable in the learning environment is vital to student success. Students need to be aware of their learning style in terms of whether they prefer face-to-face interactions, or are happy to communicate through video conference, email, text or chat. A preference for face-to-face interactions need not prevent a student from taking part in online learning, it may simply be a case of taking time to adapt to the new environment.

In addition to interactive course material, Apex Academy Online uses video conferencing, email, and group discussion boards to ensure that teachers and guidance counsellors keep in touch with students. The regular interaction provides students with important one-on-one face time with teachers to help guide and support them in their studies.

Personal Situation
Online learning offers students the flexibility to balance their work, family, sports or other related commitments with their education goals. Whether students are taking an extra course to support their university application or are a mature student looking to enhance their skills to help further their career, online learning can be adapted to fit into almost any situation.

Apex Academy Online offers asynchronous online courses which means that students can log in and study at any time that’s convenient for them. There are no schedules to arrange, places to be or times they need to be available, they can log-in whenever it’s most convenient.

Where Students Live
Where students live could have a bearing on their ability to attend a school to acquire the course credit they may need. Family or work commitments could make traveling at the appropriate time difficult or they could also be geographically remote or even in another country. In these situations, online learning takes the stress out of taking the course and gives the student the flexibility to balance their responsibilities with their educational goals.

No matter where in the world a student lives, providing they have completed the required prerequisites, students can take any available Apex Academy Online course and study at a pace that suits them.

How Do Online Students Save Time?

The key to student success in online learning is discipline. The flexibility that online courses offer brings with it the need for students to properly organize and prioritize their time. When students prioritize effectively, they will be able to make the most of the time they have available. Organizing their time will allow them to know what they need to do and the order in which it needs to be done. Managing their time not only relates to properly assessing all the activities in their lives, but also properly managing the time while they are studying online. Below are time management tips to help students make the most of their studying time:

Plan Ahead
The busy schedule of students and day-to-day disruptions can quickly fill their time and get in the way of completing studies, projects or assignments. Successful online students know how to allocate time to focus on each task at hand and avoid distractions such as surfing the Internet. This focus starts with creating a highly visible daily or weekly calendar that identifies and schedules the tasks that have to be completed. Such as:

    • Assignments to be completed, including drafts
    • Test or exam scheduled
    • Time for revision or test preparation
    • Scheduled contributions to discussion boards
    • Scheduled video conferences with teachers

Don’t Multi-Task
Multi-tasking doesn’t work. It reduces productivity by distracting students from the tasks at hand and can cause them to lose focus. Students should focus on one activity at a time by creating a list of tasks in order of importance and systematically working through it. As assignments or activities arise, the list can be re-prioritized, and any potential conflicts can be quickly identified and addressed. Switching from task-to-task without any plan often leads to confusion and can result in tasks being forgotten and assignment deadlines being missed.

Tasks should be prioritized making sure that those with earlier deadlines are dealt with before smaller ones that don’t have to be completed until a later date. Students should avoid procrastination; the sooner an assignment is started, the sooner it will be completed.

Set Up a Dedicated Work Space
Students should organize their space so that they have a dedicated workspace where they have all the necessary resources to do their work, whether it’s a desk in their bedroom or a corner table in an Internet café, it should be a space that lets them work without any distractions.

Stay Focused
Students should arrange their time to minimize distractions. Rather than slogging through an assignment for hours, students should break up the study time into 25 – 30-minute increments by setting a timer. When the timer goes off, the student should take a short break by getting up to stretch, checking emails or some other activity and after three or four breaks they can take longer breaks for refreshment.

Stay Balanced
To avoid burn-out, students should find a balance between their online studies and their other activities. When students are creating a plan, they should balance time away from studies to help them recharge and refocus, and an important part of that is ensuring that they get enough rest. Leaving everything to the last minute or studying all night is not productive and is stressful; working consistently allows students to give their full attention to the task at hand.

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