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What We Learned About Online Learning in 2020 College 

What We Learned About Online Learning in 2020

Last year at this time, you might never have even considered what it would be like to do high school at home. Now, we all know it’s possible—and that it might be necessary again. Here’s what we know now:

Remote learning takes self-discipline. Get on a schedule, stay on the schedule and force yourself to stay on task. When you finish your day, get some fresh air and exercise.

Don’t cheat. Most of us will have to keep learning our whole lives. You might as well try to learn the material, so you are prepared for your next step. You might get away with cheating, but you probably won’t, and the consequences could jeopardize your future.

Online learning isn’t easier. You have to pay attention to detail on assignments, meet your deadlines and sometimes figure things out on your own.

Be willing to ask for help. In the classroom or at a distance, teachers literally live to help their students. Reach out when you have a question, a problem, or even a tense situation at home.

Want to Keep Learning Online?

The global COVID-19 pandemic forced all of us to learn remotely, outside the walls of a traditional classroom. You may have loved it, hated it, or felt like some things—like not rushing out the door every morning—was actually OK.

Whether we are forced to learn online again is beyond our control, at least until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus. But you might decide that you really want to continue to learn online, even if we’re no longer at risk of illness. Online college classes are convenient and often cheaper, if you factor transportation and other costs into the equation.

It’s also important to know that what we all experienced during the COVID-19 crisis was just that—a crisis situation, not the ideal situation. Colleges and universities have spent many years designing good online teaching and learning experiences. You might have group projects, one-on-one conferences with professors and even virtual “field trips.” Thanks to technology, so much is possible.

If you are considering college online:

Look for accredited colleges to be sure the degree you earn will be valuable in the workforce. All public and many independent colleges and universities in the state offer some online learning, and you may be able to earn your entire degree that way.

Stick with the names you know, such as those in the Directory.

Talk to their admissions counselors and make sure you understand what you are getting into when you start an online class or degree program.

Indiana State University has a handy quiz at indstate.edu/online to help you decide whether or not remote learning could help you earn your degree. Here’s a preview of some of the questions you’ll be asked to consider:

  • I am good at setting goals and deadlines for myself.
  • I have a really good reason for taking an online course.
  • I finish the projects I start.
  • I do not quit just because things get difficult.
  • I can keep myself on track and on time.

Talk with an advisor, as well as people who know you well—family members, school counselor, teacher or coach—to help you make the best decision about whether online college courses are for you.

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