Student Resources

How to Manage Online Classes

By Cassandra Rusie

How to Manage Online Classes

For any student, any change in a learning environment can be scary, but there’s nothing to be afraid of when diving into an online class. Online learning is a fast-growing, constantly-evolving world of endless possibilities. With a little time to adjust, some organization, and a few tips and tricks, you will become a successful student in the online world.

The Transition to Online Courses

You’ve decided to become an online student; congratulations! There are a few things you should do at the beginning of your online school journey to make the transition a smooth one.

1: Check your tech.

To work well online, you first need to be online! Ensuring you have reliable internet access and a working computer is a must. If you can’t connect at home, find your local library, coffee shop, or friend’s house that will become your new classroom.  To interact with your teachers and classmates, you will want to have a working webcam and microphone. Most laptops already have these things built-in, but this new experience is also a great time to treat yourself with some new earbuds or camera.

2: Ask questions.

You may have heard the expression, “there is no such thing as a dumb question.”  It’s true; asking questions is how you learn, and everyone at your new school is there to help you be as successful as possible. Everyone was new once, and everyone remembers the feeling of being new. Asking questions helps you learn how things work, and the sooner you understand how things work, the sooner you won’t feel so new anymore.

3: Try.

The first live class. The first assignment submission. The first assessment. These are all crucial milestones in your transition to online learning. The best way to find success with these is simply to try. If you don’t log into those early experiences, the anxiety about them will only build.  However, finding out that there is nothing to fear will replace anxiety with excitement.  With practice, these will become easier and easier to navigate, and you won’t get practice until you try.

Hitting Your Groove with Online Learning

After you get started with your online education, you realize that learning from home has many perks. As you continue to get comfortable using your home for school and relaxation, you will find you need to organize your physical and mental spaces. Here are a few organization tips to help make the transition a smooth one.

1: Organize your workspace.

Just like your desk in a physical school building, you will need a designated workspace. Setting up a desk or table with everything you need within reach is important. You won’t want to have to get up and search for a pen, some paper, or your mouse. Setting up a space for yourself for your schoolwork will help you be more productive and focused throughout the day.

2: Organize your time.

The traditional school schedule of 8:00-3:00 may not work for you, but setting some sort of schedule for yourself will help you feel like there is a division between school and home. Aim to be up, dressed, and ready for school at the same time every day, and make a set time for yourself to stop working each afternoon.  At the start of each week, create a plan for yourself, including your live sessions, class deadlines, and to-do list of tasks. Be sure to build in plenty of time to work on your assignments.

3: Organize your priorities.

Since you are home all day, it’s easy to get distracted. Your cell phone will be within reach, video games are nearby, and your family may be sharing the space. You will want to organize your priorities so that you are working on school during your school day and minimize distractions. This will allow you to get more of your online classes done during your scheduled day and leave you with plenty of time to do chores, be with your friends, or relax later in the day.

Student Experience

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “should I take online classes?” know that anyone can be a great online student. When you start your online classes, pay attention to additional opportunities the school offers to help you engage with the program. Joining a club, socializing with other students, and getting to know your teachers are great ways to feel like you belong in your new school. As you get more comfortable interacting with others online, you can continue to expand your involvement and become a leader in your online campus. Online schooling is an exciting world, and you can have whatever experience you make of it. Dive in, learn, and have a great time!

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Cassandra Rusie
About the Author

Cassandra Rusie works with the staff of Fusion Global Academy as the English Language Arts Department Head. She graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education and History, Eastern Michigan University with a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership, and the University of Pennsylvania with a graduate certificate in Virtual Online Teaching. Prior to joining Fusion Academy, Cassandra taught English courses at middle and high schools throughout Metro Detroit, and she piloted a blending learning program for at-risk students in the alternative setting. Most recently, she worked at a cyber charter school for six years as an English teacher, English Content Coach, and High School Assistant Principal. When she’s not at work, Cassandra enjoys volunteering at schools, churches, and with civic organizations in her community.

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