It’s important to stay informed during your transition to online school, every step of the way. After learning about how to apply for online schools, choosing the ideal online degree to pursue and securing your classes, you need to know what tools and materials will help you be the most successful online student.
Getting prepared for online courses is a different process than planning for a return to traditional schools. No need for backpacks or computer bags, save your money for the stuff you’ll actually need. The equipment that most online students need to make sure they have before the start of classes is mostly electronic or computer technology.
Online courses are student centered, which means that teachers serve mostly as guides through the course material. It requires ambition, concentration and most importantly, a calm, organized space specifically designated for your studies. It is ideal if you have an extra room that you can turn into an office, but if this is not possible, just having an area of your home that can be devoted solely to your online coursework is the next best thing.
When reading course materials or studying, some students prefer to have complete silence, while others like to play music or have some other sort of background noise to stimulate their brain. Regardless of your personal preference, it is best to have a clean, well-lit environment. Maybe you have a family that demands a lot of your attention or an unruly dog that nips at your feet every chance it gets. In this case, taking a short trip down to the library, bookstore or local coffee shop with wireless internet access can be your outlet to a peaceful work space.
Before the first day of classes, take the time to make sure that your computer has the proper specs and is equipped with the required software and devices. You should have received a list of computer requirements from school.
A computer that was manufactured within the last three years should be able to handle your online school program.
Common specifications that are usually required include:
- 20 GB hard drive
- 512 MB RAM
- Windows 98 or better/ Mac OSX 10.4 or higher
- Sound card
- MS Office 2004 or higher, or some other word processor
- Free Web browser with plug-ins
For online degree programs in which you will be performing research, such as nursing, marketing, or general education, having internet libraries and information databases already bookmarked with help you complete your research papers on time.
Many online programs involve live video chats, listening to audio lectures or watching pre-recorded videos. Having a web cam, CD player, TV, and DVD player may come in handy. All classes will be writing intensive, since many online courses have limited outlets for oral communication, so having a thesaurus or dictionary handy, or bookmarking one on your web browser will be helpful.
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