Summer Goals for Online Summer Classes

9 Jun

Summer classes can be stressful because they are very fast paced and you have just given your all during the fall and spring semesters.  At this point, you may lack a little motivation, sort of how I am feeling! This is my third summer at the U of A taking summer courses and trust me, it is worth it, but it also is a little bit of a struggle getting to the end. I have put together a few goals of mine for my summer classes, along with some tips for you if you are or will be enrolled in courses this summer.

  1. Read the book fully.
    Let’s all be honest: We have all cut corners while reading a course’ textbook and unfortunately this doesn’t work when you’re enrolled in a summer course because that is where the majority of the learning is done. The instructor’s, of all of my previous courses, rarely put together lectures to post on D2L and fully rely on the students to read then ask and answer discussion questions. My goal for all three of my summer courses is to read the textbook so I can set myself up for success. I am going to give myself two days to read each chapter and to have time to answer questions if I need to.
  2. Start assignments, readings, papers early.
    In a summer course, the instructor usually gives their students access to upcoming assignments early on in the course. Instead of waiting until last minute to start my assignments, I want to get ahead so I can spend more time on my projects and not stress because of a time crunch. I will use the same technique with my reading to start long assignments a few days in advance, including weekends, to make sure that I have time to proofread and read over what I have written. There are no excuses that I cannot do this because I have more free time with less courses to worry about.
  3.  Participate in optional discussions.
    Usually in an online class, the teacher has an open discussion thread that is open throughout the course’s duration to ask questions to classmates or to contribute to a discussion with classmates on chapters or topics. These are not usually led by an instructor, rather is just used for the students. In the past, I have not used this discussion thread, but in my pre-session course I saw some great information and topics being discussed by other students. I want to at least post in this thread once during my current session 1 summer course to see if it helps.
  4. Complete extra credit assignments.
    In past classes, especially during the hectic school year, sometimes I miss these assignments because I am just too busy to spend extra time on a project that is not required for the course. Now that it is summer and I have extra time on my hands, it is a lot easier to complete extra assignments to help my grade. In summer courses it is a little rare that they will offer extra credit so when I see it, I always try to get it done.
  5. Check email and D2L every day.
    This has already became a habit for me since I have been a UA student and it is the best advice that I can give anyone who is a student here. I have my email connected to my phone and I continually get notifications if my professors email me. This is especially vital in a summer course because it is so fast paced. Things can change immediately from the instructor and it is always good to get this information ASAP. This is a goal that I will continue to have throughout my college career.
  6. Interact with other students and teachers via email.
    This has been a goal of mine for awhile now and I still have a hard time doing this especially in an online course. We do not meet in person so getting to know other students and the teachers is more difficult. In my pre-session course this summer, I did have some questions about a few assignments so I ended up emailing the teacher. To my surprise, she was super excited that I reached out to ask questions and she ended up forwarding the help that she gave me to every one else in the class to help them out as well. I realized that professors appreciate when a student reaches out to ask questions because it shows that the student is very engaged in the material. When communicating with other students it can definitely be a little more difficult. In my last summer course, we had a partner for an online course and we helped each other out a lot other than just on group projects. I recommend even if you do not have an assigned partner, use the classlist and email some of your classmates to see if anyone wants to help or have a discussion with you about the material. They are in the same boat as you are and you can work together so you can both do better in the course.

Hopefully these goals have helped you a bit and have given you ideas on how to succeed in your online courses. I know summer classes aren’t ideal to a fun and relaxing summer, but if you get things done ahead of time you will still have a fun, adventurous summer vacation!

Best,
Courtney

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