The Online Education Experience

The ABCs of Online Education: 3 Things Successful Students Do

by Halton Thomson


Ask for help

It is a good idea to ask your teacher or support staff for help early and often. If you think you do not understand something—ask! If you are feeling a bit lost in an assignment—ask! If you are unable to find a lesson or resource—ask! Do you need clarity on a topic in live class—ask! Do not delay asking for help because it is a good way to make sure you stay on track, and it keeps the lines of communication open. The more you communicate, the less intimidating it will be!

When asking for help—be specific! Explain what you need help with. Begin the request with what you need resolved, so people can better assist you. This will speed up the process because it lets the teacher or support staff know how they need to help! Consider this—if you do not know what you need help with, or you do not share what problems or misunderstandings you are having, how can people help you, right? Remember, one of the main reasons you have teachers and staff is to help you when issues arise—help them help you!


Believe in themselves

Mindset is powerful. Many times, efforts are successes or failures before they even begin. How is that? Mindset! For example, if you start anything believing you can do it, it will go well, it can get better—you are already ahead. Imagine thinking consistently whenever you begin anything: you cannot do it, this is not going to work out, you are probably going to ruin it—what sort of groundwork are you laying? Negative thoughts can poison your mindset and stop success even before you begin.

It does not cost you anything to have a positive attitude. Maintain a belief mindset while you tackle courses, assignments, and tests. When difficulty occurs, do not be discouraged. That is a part of the process. Overcoming obstacles make you stronger, better!  It is easy to believe in yourself when you are on the mountaintop; do not make the mistake of losing belief when you get knocked down. Keep moving forward. You got this. Believe.


Complete assignments on time

This is rather obvious, but it cannot be overstated. Completing assignments on time is paramount for online school because you need to stay on pace with the course to maximize learning and retention of the content.

Staying on track is just as necessary for the online environment, as it would be in a traditional brick and mortar school. You would not make it a habit of skipping quizzes, tests, assignments, or activities at a traditional schoolwhile it is going on in class—so online school should not be treated any differently, even though it is logistically easier to turn assignments in past the due date.

Staying on pace is critical because once you fall behind, it may feel very difficult to catch back up. Cramming to complete assignments diminishes learning the content and retaining it. Utilize your class calendars to prioritize due dates and take advantage of live class work time to knock out your tasks. Plan to stay a bit ahead if necessary, so you give yourself a cushion. Completing assignments on time minimizes stress and anxiety, so reach out to your teacher or support staff if you feel like you are slipping with the workload. They are happy to give you tips and tools, so you can keep pace with your courses.


Halton Thomson is the social media specialist for Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) and a former GCA high school social studies teacher of 5 years. When he isn't doing social media for GCA, you can find him most likely at a park with his son, Ty, and new Sproodle,Clive. He enjoys golfing and ping-pong, though rarely at the same time. Film and video has always been a hobby and interest of his; and he is quite a car enthusiast. He attempts to live a fairly active lifestyle, but that is mainly because he has a giant sweet tooth.

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