How to Catch Up in an Online Course

Via U.S. News and World Report

Many online students have full-time jobs, families or other obligations, including unforeseen ones, which can make it more difficult to stay on top of their online course work. Adjusting to the technology used in online courses can be a challenge for them before they even begin classes. It’s possible to fall behind, especially when you are just starting out.

Luckily, there are a few steps students can take to bounce back after falling behind in an online course.

First, students shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to their instructors. Professors of online classes are often accessible by email or Skype appointments, and would rather hear from students before they have fallen too far behind to catch up. They can offer solutions to help the student succeed.

"When circumstances are flagged earlier, it's much easier to work toward a solution and get back on track than if students don't raise the issue until late in the semester," advises Joe Chapman, director of student services at ASU Online, the online division of Arizona State University.

Second, if a student is behind in class, it’s pretty likely they are not alone. Reaching out to peers helps everyone taking the course. Collaboration is encouraged in online classrooms, and being open about struggles may help more students open up about theirs.

Finally, using an academic calendar can help students get organized get back on track. Checking in on class discussions is also an important part of keeping up, and reviewing them as soon after they occur as possible will help a student catch up quickly.

Falling behind in an online course doesn’t mean a student can’t bounce back. Contacting their instructor, reaching out to other students, and getting reorganized can enable them to get back on track quickly. Read more here.

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