Ten Ways to Prepare for Your First Day of Distance Learning

Don’t let your first day of online learning catch you off guard. Here are 10 things you can do to prepare yourself for your online learning experience.

  1. Have everything you need - You won’t need a book bag. But you will need specific hardware and software and possibly some other electronic gadgets to complete your coursework online. Hopefully you were given a list in advance and it’s all in place by now. But it never hurts to double-check that you have everything you need.
  2. Designate a study area - Homes can be full of distractions. That’s why you need to find some place at home where you can go to complete assignments and study for tests. Make the space quite, comfortable, connected, and if possible, separate from the rest of your “home.”
  3. Get comfortable with online learning - Before starting your first day, practice using email, chatting online, and connecting to the internet. If you do, you will have completed your first major lesson in online learning.
  4. Order early - Like any first day in class, expect your instructor to give you a list of textbooks and software you’ll need to complete the course. Order these items ASAP.
  5. Know where to turn for help - Have handy the names and contact information of the people you’ll need when a problem arises. Topping your list should be technical support personnel, admissions representatives, and guidance counselors.
  6. Login early - That way you can avoid being late to class should you need your user name and/or password resent or experience technical difficulties. It also gives you a chance to read any messages from your instructor(s).
  7. Familiarize yourself with the course - This is easily accomplished by reading the course outline and objective and other materials you’re given in advance. There won’t be any surprises that way and you’ll have an easier time managing your schedule.
  8. Learn about the professor - Taking time in advance to learn his/her teaching style, preferred communication methods, and philosophy can help you ease into class and work more effectively with your online learning instructor.
  9. Participate - From day 1 make participation in class your main objective. It’s a great way meet others and will go a long way towards making you feel like part of the class even though you’re separate from it.
  10. Take a deep breath - Distance learning may be new to you, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. In about a week, you’ll likely have it all figured out. So don’t sweat it in the meantime.