I am just a few days away from my first official day of college at Liberty University Online. It’s been a little over four years since I’ve done any academic work, and the thought of being back in school is just as nerve racking as it is exciting, especially since I’ve never done an online college course. There are a few things I’ve done that I hope will help me be prepared for my classes.
1. I ordered my books for all my classes as soon as possible. That means I registered about two months in advance and I had my books about three to four weeks in advance. I familiarized myself with my textbooks, and I am reading them while taking notes to get a bit of a head start. I am almost done with the reading material for one of my classes, which will hopefully take a little stress off of me during the course of the class.
2. I have asked a LOT of questions. Even if I was pretty sure I had done everything for things like Financial Check-In, I logged into a live chat and asked any questions and made sure the process had been completed. I have several printed out live-chat conversations that I have since referenced several times. I’m not trying to figure it out on my own. In a sense, it’s like reading the directions carefully before assembling something complicated. I would encourage any online student at Liberty (or any other school) to utilize their live chat service. No question is too small.
3. I have gone over and watched all the available tutorials. I have never used anything like Blackboard, which is the system Liberty uses to allow students to access assignments, turn in assignments, contact other students and the professor, and view grades, etc. I have tried to familiarize myself as much as possible with Blackboard and other online systems, such as their online Library. I’ve also attended a Webinar and hopefully will attend at least one more.
4. I have gone over my syllabus and all of the assignment descriptions provided by my professors. Any information that my professors have made available, I have gone over so that I have a good idea of what will be expected of me. I don’t want to get to an assignment and not know how much time or effort I will have to put into it until it’s time to get it done. I don’t want to have a ton of late nights trying to finish a paper I wasn’t prepared to write.
Basically, I have utilized any and all information available to me to the best of my ability, and I suggest anyone beginning school again after an absence or attending online courses for the first time do the same.
For those of you who went back to school after a break or those of you who ventured into online classes- how did you prepare yourself? What were some ways you wish you would have prepared yourself more?