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Best Practices for Completing Courses Online

By Sreekar Siddula, Cyber-Physical Systems Ambassador

As we try to adapt to unprecedented times, we are put forward with challenges that require us to deviate from our usual lifestyle. As students, one of the major hurdles we are facing currently is having to deal with online classes. In this article, I will try to share my experiences on how attending classes virtually has changed my perspective about online education and suggest some good practices that might let you stay at the top of your game.

  1. Get accustomed to the software being used for that particular course

You might bump into a few hiccups the first few days in navigating through the online platforms being used to deliver your lectures. Most of the professors would let you know the platforms or software they intend to use during the course before the first lecture. It is advised to download those platforms in advance and try them out before attending your first online class. 

  • Know your resources and use them to your benefit

University provides a lot of resources to help students in getting through their course work. Most of the premium software that is required for your coursework would be available to download from the Web Store. Most of the Academic material available in the library can be accessed online at Northeastern Library Online. Apart from these, you have access to several other student resources. Go through the following website on Student Resources and do your research before the semester starts.

  • Connect with your Professors and Teaching Assistants

It is a known fact that the major differentiating factor between an on-ground course and online course is the mode of instruction. However, professors are constantly putting in efforts to bridge the gap between an in-person lecture and online lecture. So the onus is upon us as students to actively participate in the online discussions and reach out to them with questions. Professors and TAs do offer online office hours so ensure that you make the best use of that time. 

  • Keep a track of all your Submission Deadlines

Often, I found myself swamped with assignments and after a point, I lost track of the deadlines particularly because I wasn’t meeting my peers or professors who could be a constant reminder. So it is advised to maintain your personal roster with all the assignment/project deadlines. 

  • Collaborate with your classmates

We do know that the course work can be quite taxing and working through the assignments alone can be an added burden. Just because cannot get together in the library, doesn’t mean you cannot collaborate on your work. Try setting up your virtual meeting rooms in one of the video conferencing platforms and start acing your assignments. 

  • Record your lectures for future reference

Northeastern allows students to record their online lectures for educational purposes and it comes in handy during situations like these. Most of the professors record the lectures themselves and provide you with the recordings after each class. You could simply go back to one of your old lecture videos to quickly clarify some of your questions. 

  • Stay Organised

Staying focussed and organized are arguably the most important factors required for succeeding in an online course. Take some time and set up your workstation or study desk and you’d be surprised to realize how much more productive you could be. 

Set yourself a schedule and try sticking to it. 

In case you’re having difficulty concentrating, you should definitely try the Pomodoro Technique wherein you’d break your entire work into small tasks and give it undivided attention for 25 minutes. You can take a small break after each task. You could use any online Pomodoro Timer to help you keep track of time. 

From someone who has used it, I can assure you that this works like a charm every single time. 

  • Take breaks and Chill

Getting through your online course requires an added effort as you’d mostly be confined to your home. So make sure you get away from your work every once in a while and do something that pleases you, be it cooking or catching up with your favorite show.

These are the best practices that I could come up with from my experiences with online courses and hope that these will be of some help to you. 


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