– UMSL Student Retention Services’ hour-long session was primarily a presentation giving tips on how to successfully tackle the online learning experience. –
PHOTO: The Millennium Student Center at University of Missouri-St. Louis. Photo by Ryan Brooks for The Current 2014 ©


By Mary Chickos, Staff Writer for The Current

UMSL Student Retention Services hosted the “Being Successful in Online Classes” forum in room 225 of the Millennium Student Center on September 4 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The hour-long session was primarily a presentation giving tips on how to successfully tackle the online learning experience.
Taking classes online is not quite the same as a traditional classroom experience. It is “no longer an easy A; the process is very different,” said Adam Padgitt, student retention services graduate assistant. Some of the presenters’ advice, gathered from years of successfully pursuing degrees, is listed below.
Some professors use Skype to communicate with their online students, or they may use a MyGateway tool known as Panopto, a separate tool within MyGateway to post tutorials. The online student is expected to meet deadlines.
Padgitt suggests making a schedule from the syllabus, reading the syllabus upfront and often throughout the class, and checking My Gateway often for assignment deadline. Also, reading the syllabus thoroughly and plan ahead on a calendar when projects are due and exams are held. The key is having the discipline to make out a schedule and stick to it. For instance, putting a schedule on the refrigerator with blocks of time to study for a particular class and resisting distractions from anything else, would be something to consider implementing. Break up a big project into smaller sections. Work on this several hours a day, which helps to retain the knowledge better. Put the information into your own words. “Go. Speak professionally with teachers and students throughout,” said Padgitt.
Time management is essential. Make school a top priority. Allow enough time to prepare for every deadline. Darren Curry, the University of Missouri−St. Louis Project Development Specialist, suggests using a ‘to-do’ list on MyGateway to help prioritize tasks that need to be done or an alarm on your phone to provide time limits for your studies. “Study habits: find a consistent place to do your school work. It’s all about knowing yourself,” said Padgitt.
In order to complete assignments, reliable and consistent Wi-Fi is essential. Signal strengths may be different in different places. Find 2-3 study places where you es knwhereow the signal is consistently strong. Doing speed tests to find out how strong the signal is in different places will help minimize the risks of losing work, progress or time because of unreliable signals. Also, try to avoid unfamiliar establishments. Absolute focus is needed to complete work.
Patience and perseverance are critical to success. Find out the technology used and the skills needed for the class. Some smartphones or tablets will not work well if they don’t have the applications needed for the class. All these devices have their application limitations.
Online classes can afford more flexibility than the physical classroom setting. It helps to construct a game plan. To prepare, know who to contact if there is a problem, and double check all equipment needs.
Browsers need continuous updates. The settings are generally in the control panel and may need to be updated. Similarly, some common complaints about malfunctioning devices can be fixed by trying another browser. For example, if Internet Explorer does not work, Firefox or Google Chrome are alternative options.
Also, Java and Adobe are personal applications that may need to be maintained. They need to be updated and ready to go on a regular basis
Finally, a good post on a discussion board involves several sentences to several paragraphs. They want people to respond to online topics on different days, not all at the same time. Make sure to check grammar and spelling before hitting submit. Make sure to reach out if help is needed on any assignment.

© The Current 2014