John Schuring: Lets face it, working professionals are busy people and over time it’s become the norm in many companies to refrain from hiring additional employees so one of the main advantages of online learning is schedule flexibility. Since most of our lectures are asynchronous you get to choose when you would like to listen to them. For example maybe during a lunch break at work, maybe when the house quiets down late at night or maybe you’d like to do it on a Sunday afternoon. Schedule flexibility is one of the main advantages that we hear from our students in the program.
As far as tips for succeeding in online format let me offer two. First even though the online format is very flexible on the delivery end as I mentioned previously that does not mean that there is not a course schedule. Just like an on campus course there will be a syllabus and assignments and papers will be due at different times through the semester. These should be treated as hard deadlines just like it would be for an on campus course. Sometimes students think because it’s online and they can listen to their lectures at any time that there are not deadlines. In general the course policies that will be applied to an on campus will also be extended to an online course.
The second tip is related. Students will often be asked throughout the semester to participate in something like an online forum or a web board or the like. Again, just because the instructor’s a thousand miles away don’t assume that you don’t have to participate. These are actually excellent opportunities for networking with your classmates and also can be a lot of fun. It also may be part of your grade. Certainly you’ll get out of it what you put into it.