Tips for Studying Online

Studying online presents a number of challenges, some of which you’ll share with your face-to-face counterparts but others will be specific to you as an online learner.

The following tips are offered in order to help you succeed:

 

Familiarise yourself with CIT’s policies, procedures and regulations

Although you may be spending much or all your time off campus it’s important to familiarise yourself with the standard policies, procedures and regulations that apply to all CIT students. These include the institute’s Regulations for Modules and Programmes (often referred to as the “Marks and Standards”) ; and CIT’s Student regulations 

 

 

Make sure you understand CIT’s System of Modularisation and Semesterisation

In CIT each stage or year of a full-time programme is typically divided into two semesters with each semester being “worth” 30 credits. Credits are awarded to students when they successfully complete a module by passing all the assessments. Modules are often but not always worth 5 credits. For more see http://www.mycit.ie/semesterisation_modularisation

 

Study the structure of your programme

All programmes in CIT have a defined structure with programme outcomes and a schedule for each semester in terms of its constituent modules. Each module in turn has a “module descriptor” telling you what you should be able to do to successfully complete the module and the various assessments you have to complete in order to demonstrate that learning. Programme and module descriptors can be searched for directed from http://courses.cit.ie/.

 

 

Log-in

It might seem obvious but as an online learner you need to log in. Even if you can’t make the live events provided as part of your chosen course, it’s important to login to the Blackboard system as often as you can so you can stay on top of what’s happening on with your modules. If you go too long without logging in you’ll get left behind and, moreover, it will seem to your lecturers when that you’re not participating fully in your course.

 

Connect with your online classmates and participate in online discussions

Participate in any opportunities provided to you to connect with your online classmates. This may include an online forum or a live conference event for a particular module just a request for help or offer of help from your classmates. Make sure you make these connections, it will pay dividends in terms of your sense of belonging, your enjoyment and ultimately your success in your chosen field of study.

 

 

Tell us how you’re doing (so we know how we’re doing)

Because lecturing and other staff are not seeing or meeting you in a physical face-to-face environment, you may need to be a bit more outspoken if you’re having problems or need help with something. If you are having some kind of technical issue, for instance, that prevents you from participating properly in a particular online class your lecturer may have no way of knowing unless you tell them. Equally if there is something about the structure of your course or just some concepts that you don’t understand -- ask a question. Most likely you’ll be helping others by doing so (see above) just try to be as clear and as concise as you can.

 

Have a plan and stick to it          

It might seem obvious but you need to put time aside every week to study and work on your course requirements. This is in addition to attending or reviewing your live classes and it is absolutely critical to your success. Don’t rely on doing this additional work when you have a spare moment, block off set times each and every week and stick to them. Be organised: know what you need to get done, keep a calendar for important dates and deadlines, keep a to-do list for smaller daily or weekly tasks. Being disorganised is the biggest enemy of the online learner, don’t let it hurt your chances for online learning success.

 

Have a place to learn

This relates to the point above. It can be difficult (and sometimes impossible!) to study or work on assessments if you’re sharing a space with others or if the space where you’re trying to work is noisy or messy. Try to find a space that’s quiet and free of distractions when you’ve blocked off time to do your online learning. Try to keep this space organised and tidy so that you feel motivated to work there. Don’t allow yourself to become the source of your own distraction while you’re there either: have strict and absolute rules for yourself about use of social media, extracurricular browsing etc.

 

Remember why you’re doing this.

Higher education can be tough. Online learners often have to face even more challenges than their face-to-face counterparts. Stay motivated and stay positive, give yourself credit and, as appropriate, the occasional reward. Accept that there will be highs and lows and that the most important kind of learning challenges us at more than just an intellectual level. Don’t forget the reason you signed up for your online course.

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