By Marguerite Epps, Webster University MBA Student
When I first started working on my MBA degree at Webster University, I was somewhat hesitant about the journey because it had been some time since completing my bachelor’s degree. I believe that I was more worried about transitioning back into ‘study mode’ rather than actually feeling overwhelmed about the entire process. What helped me to reign in those uncertainties was to focus on the word: organization. I know. I know. Let’s face it, getting organized for many can be a lot of hard work, but it is well worth the effort.
So, you have registered for your online course(s). The semester is about to start, or it is underway, and you feel good about your decision to work on an online degree. Are you ready to get organized for success? Here are 10 steps that will help get you organized in order to obtain your online degree:
1. Complete the Online Learning Center’s Online Student Orientation & Training Course & Introductory webinar. Each online student who is taking their first online course with Webster receives an email invitation to access the training and webinar information. This online training is the best way to receive a preview of course navigation, to obtain excellent tips on how to be a successful online student, and so much more. I highly recommend scheduling time to complete the training. In doing so, the training will help alleviate your anxiety about taking online classes. For more information, contact the Online Student Services support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Check off Online Learning Center’s Checklist items for important tasks that should be completed prior to your online class.
4. Once you obtain access to your online course, view and download the syllabus to familiarize yourself with the course requirements. Reviewing your syllabus will give you a good idea about the supplies needed to keep you organized and on-task. Typically, you will need a folder system to organize assignments by type and due dates. This can be done digitally on a mobile device or computer with the use of your favorite file storage service. You can also print your online course’s documents and organize them in a binder or notebook. There are several online and retail stores that stock these types of items.
5. Next, while navigating your online course, read all communications from your instructor such as emails, announcements, Conversations in your inbox, discussion posts and so forth. Save this information for easy access and referral as it may come in handy for later topics and assignments.
6. Take advantage of Webster’s tools and resources that can help you get organized and stay organized while supporting your schedule. The course calendar is incredibly helpful as well as the Canvas app, the IT Service Desk, the ARC’s tutoring services and Online Writing Center, the Webster Library, and of course, the Online Learning Center.
7. Dedicate an area in your living space for completing your class work. This location could be your kitchen or dining table, a separate office or den area. Select a place that has minimal traffic and maximum quiet during times that you allocate for study.
8. Organize your class materials such as text books, folders, binders, PC, tablet, and writing accessories. Make sure these items are readily accessible and easily stored away when they are not in use.
9. If possible, set a specific time to review your class’s materials. Although online students can access their courses around the clock, committing to a set time to study helps create good habits and familiarity with the course content.
10. Have a Plan ‘B’ in place should internet connectivity issues arise due to spot outages, excessively slow speeds, or something goes wrong with your computer. It is important to identify a secondary means and location to access your online course such as via a back-up computer device at a friend’s home or WiFi access at your local library or coffee shop.
These ten steps will move you closer to obtaining your online degree. You have taken the most important step by acting on your decision to enroll in online course(s). By remaining motivated and organized, you will succeed.
Marguerite Epps is an MBA candidate in Webster University’s Online MBA program. She has completed several online courses.
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