For me, my very first online class was extremely stressful. Taking an online class pretty much forces you to become best friends with Engage, UC’s online learning platform, and follow every single discussion post posted by your peers. Personally, I was getting more and more discouraged by the day. It was difficult for me, but now, I’d be happy to take more online classes.
At first, it’s extremely difficult to figure out what you are supposed to be doing. Discussions are confusing, the syllabus can be confusing, and even Engage can be confusing. However, little did I know, Engage actually simplifies your life in regards to what you should be doing and when you should be doing it by. The next time you log into Engage, check out the “upcoming events” section on your main page. This houses all events coming up for your courses listed on your Engage page. This portion of your Engage page includes dates and times for when things are due, and you can even set it to include reminders! Personally, this saved me while taking my first online class because it simplified things in a way that was easier for me to understand and pay attention to.
Not only is it hard to comprehend what is due and when it is due by, it is also extremely difficult, in my opinion, to stay motivated in the class. For online classes versus on-ground classes, it can be hard to stay motivated and focused on the material. There isn’t a professor available that is lecturing at the front of a classroom. Rather, there are PowerPoints and class discussions in regards to a textbook chapter with the occasional video that reinforces what you were supposed to have read. However, I found that no matter how much you may not want to read the book nor look over the notes, just like in a typical on-ground class, you have to in order to pass the class! Reading is crucial for an online class to be effective and also for you to pass. It was difficult for me to understand at first, but now it’s much easier to grasp certain concepts, and if I don’t understand something, there’s a section to ask questions to the professor.
And lastly, stay organized! Take the notes from your “upcoming events” section on Engage and add them to your planner, calendar, or whatever else you use to stay organized. It’s easy to get ahead of the work for online classes if you read ahead, and pay attention the “upcoming events.”