Get off to a great start in your online course and complete it successfully by following these three tips from David Sherman, Instructor in the School of Liberal Arts:
1. Read everything before you do anything.
I’m sure you’ve all heard this before, and it’s good advice! As your course begins, carefully read over all of the material in the Course Information section of your course before you do anything else. Understanding what is expected of you, when assignments are due, and other details about your course and instructor are essential to your success. Read everything in this section before you start to do anything else for the course.
2. Messages and Announcements – your connection to the course.
Once the course has started, check your messages daily for any communications from your instructor. If there’s a problem with one of your submissions, or an issue your instructor wants to discuss with you, he or she is going to try to reach you through a message in Blackboard. If you only check your messages once or twice a week, the problem may have already lasted too long. Also, instructors post announcements for your benefit. If a link needs to be replaced, or an instruction or assignment needs to be clarified, your instructor will post announcements. Checking your announcements means you will be up to date with your course and your instructor.
3. Plan your time.
In a 100-yard dash race, if you fall behind a step or two, it’s hard to make up that distance because the race goes by so quickly. Think of an eight-week course as a sprint. If you fall behind it can be very difficult to make up the work you missed. This is why doing the bulk of your course work in a single day can be a dangerous plan. If something unexpectedly comes up on that day, and you can’t get your work done, you’ve fallen behind. A plan to avoid this is to spread your work out throughout the week. Try to set aside 30 – 60 minutes a day to work on your course. That way if something comes up and you can’t do your course work that day, you can easily make it up throughout the rest of the week.
David Sherman has been teaching at Excelsior since 2008. He developed and currently teaches MUS 205: Music History, MUS 210: History of Rock and Roll, Part 1, and MUS 211: History of Rock and Roll, Part 2. He was trained as a classical composer at Juilliard. After receiving his MMA, he entered the music business where he has worked as a composer, arranger, and producer. His music has been heard on TV, in films, and in advertising as well as in the concert hall.