Five Habits of Highly Effective Online Students


Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of students in on-ground classes, online classes and hybrid courses too. Though the technology has changed continuously, certain things have not. Check out the five online habits used by the highest grade earners.

  1. Successful students stay in touch with the online environment. Some login once or twice every day. Others synch their wireless phones with the discussion forums and announcements. Whatever their exact method, the highest scoring students don’t wander away for days and then rush to catch up.
  2. They make the time. Every couple weeks, a student sends me an email detailing why they didn’t’ have the opportunity to do this or that and can they now please have more time. The funny thing is, these emails can run 500-700 words in length, leading me to think that if they had the chance to write all that, they had time to do their homework. The most successful students never ask for more time because they carve out as little as twenty minutes a day to stay on top of their studies.
  3. They control their time. It’s not enough just to make time; you have to manage it. Did you know as much as 25% of our time is spent shifting back and forth between projects? People call this multi-tasking, but at the end of an eight hour day, that’s two whole hours spend doing nothing but figuring out what you’re doing. Successful students dedicate blocks of time to each activity and batch similar activities together. For example, twenty minutes in the online discussion forum responding to posts. Then, full stop. Open the reading. Read for twenty-minutes. Full stop. Write for twenty minutes. You’d be amazed what I’ve seen super-busy students produced in just an hour, only by managing their time firmly. Remember also to make rest time and play time which is free of work. You need that too.
  4. Leverage new technology. A student introduced almost all the latest technology used in my classes. They’re always coming up with ways to save time, present work more efficiently or locate research. If something seems hard, google around a bit and see if there is a free app to make it easier. If there isn’t maybe you could build one and become the next internet billionaire.
  5. Reach out and get connected. Where are you going? What are your goals? Those will college degrees tend to make more than those without but don’t just sit back and wait for the jobs to come to you. The most effective students I’ve seen are in touch with prospective employers, grad schools and institutions while they’re in class. The Internet has made almost the entire world accessible, bring it into your classwork; take your classwork out into the world.

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