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My Love/Hate Relationship with Online Courses

Written by Melissa Koehler
Online Courses

Picture this.

It’s the winter term. You don’t have class on Fridays. You enrolled in an online class to avoid physically going to a class on those blustery, cold Fridays. Instead, you get to spend your Friday morning in bed, watching the lectures for your online class while you drink a warm apple-cinnamon tea. By noon, you’ve already finished the online lecture and you now get to spend your Friday afternoon watching The Sound of Music.

That was not me.

Last winter, I enrolled in an online class to avoid physically going to class, but I did not spend my Fridays doing what I should have.

Instead, I’d roll out of bed around noon and make myself some breakfast. I’d check all the social media sites I’m addicted to. I’d internet stalk all my ex-boyfriends. After all that hard work, I would grab myself a snack. I’d come back and refresh my Facebook and Twitter, only to find it hadn’t changed. So being bored, I would finally log onto my online class and click on the lecture. But before I started, I’d need a coffee to keep myself awake. After making it, I’d go upstairs and watch a couple of minutes of my lecture, but, by then, somebody would share a funny video about cats. I can’t turn cats down. Then all of a sudden, dinner is ready and well, it’s a Friday night so I have plans to go out afterwards.

“Turn your cell phone off. Those cute kitty cats will still be there later.”

You get the idea. Productive? Not so much.

When physically in class, I’m nowhere near that unmotivated or distracted. I’m motivated to go to class because I could miss something or because my professor might penalize me for skipping. I don’t get distracted because I don’t have the power to pause the lecture. Instead, I frantically take notes because that’s the only time I’m going to hear it.

So here are my words of wisdom. If you ever take an online class, treat it like a real class, because, well, it is one. Actually go to campus and find a quiet place to watch the lectures. Take your online course at the same time every week and keep up with the recommended schedule. Watch each lecture in its entirety. If you miss one lecture, suddenly you’re behind on five. Don’t let yourself fall behind.

Second, limit your distractions. You likely don’t use your phone or the internet as much in class as you would outside of class, so do that with your online course. Block the sites you’re addicted to. Turn your cell phone off. Those cute kitty cats will still be there later.

Exams creep up faster than you think. Trust me.

Image courtesy: Helga Weber

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.