Making the first step to enroll in an online course means you have gone over and beyond the doubts that keep your peers at bay and stuck in their traditional classrooms and modes of learning. Congratulations to you for summoning the strength to become a more active and responsible learner! This decision quickly begins to sink in as you register and receive your course material. What next? Am I to trust that the course and the LMS (Learning Management System) has been sufficiently designed to meet my needs? What do I need to do to ensure success in this seemingly new mode of learning?
Achieving success really comes down to fine-tuning specific time management skills such as communication, prioritization and self-awareness. Each individual learns differently. Traditionally, what would have guided you would have been a trained Teacher’s understanding of how to deliver a curriculum informed by Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelligences;” differentiated instructional methods and theories on learning by specialists in the field of Education, which did take away a lot of the guess work for the novice learner. As a registered student of a Virtual school, you are now responsible to a greater extent for your success. All you have to do is read and reflect on these skills and incorporate them as best as possible throughout your course.
Firstly, communication is an essential tool of the 21st century and even though we are ‘connected’ on many online platforms, somehow in the age of mass communication, there tends to be continuous feedback, distortion, miscommunication and sometimes complete loss in communication between teacher and student. Establishing a strong link between your teacher and yourself is absolutely essential in the virtual classroom. Once you have been able to do so, this teacher becomes a stronger link for you to digest any and all information posted. Apart from this, the feedback on assignments and especially those submitted to the Ontario Virtual School gives you that second chance to perfect your assignments and achieve a better grade.
Secondly, prioritizing your online courses and balancing your study schedule or sometimes work-study schedule is critical to ensuring you meet the demands of the course. Some schools like Ontario Virtual School would allow you to complete a course over a year but giving that much freedom to a student who procrastinates is sure to meet with substandard assignments, little retention of course material and even failure. What you must do is schedule your time in such a way that you are continuously engaged in learning or reading course material. In that way, your assignments, homework and communications with teachers can be sent and uploaded on time. Teachers can track your progress and working a tighter schedule relieves them of the barrage of emails they would normally receive on Mondays when students worked during weekends only.
Lastly, self-awareness in this context relates to understanding yourself as a learner. At this stage in your education, you would have had multiple trials and errors to form a stronger foundation for approaching reading, researching, writing and other skills in the subject areas to achieve greater success. If you know that self-regulated learning is challenging, allow yourself the necessary support to push forward. This support can come from your parents, your significant other and even your peers. Do not approach an online course as an isolated learner because this negates the philosophy of integrated learning. You have the chance to become fully immersed in the course material, believe it or not, with significantly less distractions than the traditional classroom.
As you navigate your course(s), ensure you incorporate these suggestions for success. The online world is a different one, but different does not mean better or worse. Each individual’s learning style is unique and continuing your educational pursuits hand in hand with the Ontario Virtual School is an excellent choice you will never regret.
By: Mr. Varistha Persad
Ontario Virtual School – English Teacher
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