Online Nursing Degree Success Strategies
Online nursing degree programs offer exceptional flexibility, convenience, 24/7 access, and a wider choice of accredited schools and nursing programs to choose from than traditional campus-based schools offer. With no campus attendance required, no traffic to worry about, no schedule conflicts, and no waiting lists to start a degree program, online nursing degree programs put earning an advanced degree entirely within your reach.
While an accredited online nursing degree program is a convenient solution to your educational goals, it's important to remember that it still requires just as much hard work and dedication as a traditional campus-based nursing program does.
We've surveyed online nursing program graduates and used their responses to put together the following helpful online nursing degree success strategies:
Review the Study Requirements
Before you even sign up for an online degree, review the course outline and the study requirements. If the course outline states you need 4 hours a week, you should really allow about 6 hours a week to complete the study. Check the timing of the course for completing the online degree and make sure you can commit to completing the planned study program. Although you do not have to attend regular lectures at a university, you still need time to complete the readings, review the video material online and to learn the new skills and information that is part of completing any degree.
Review the Assessment Schedule
The second step is to review the assessment schedule. Put each assessment and the due date on your calendar. Work out how long you plan to spend on each assessment, which can depend on the amount of work involved and the weighting of the assessment marks. Obviously, you will need to spend more time on an assessment that is worth 50 per cent of the marks than on an assessment that is worth 10 per cent of the marks. Plot out some time in the weeks prior to the assessment due date to work on the assessment in stages, rather than stress yourself out trying to complete an entire assessment in the two days before the assessment is due.
You don't have to have a huge patch of study time. You do, however, have to be consistent. You will never have to "cram" if you set aside a little bit of time each day to study.
Plan Regular Study Hours
If you need to complete six hours of study a week to complete your online course, plan six regular hours for you to study. In the same way you have regular hours to work, go to the gym, or go to church, you should block out the same hours every week to study your online degree. Choose hours and times when other distractions are less likely. If you often go out to a friend's place for dinner on Friday nights, it is better to choose another time for your study. Otherwise, you will be more likely to choose to do something else instead of study.
It is best to block out hours when your mind is most active and you will be able to concentrate and to study effectively. Planning to study at 11pm when you are very tired is not smart. Plan a few blocks of time, with two to three hours in a block over the week, rather than try to complete all the study required in one day. You will find it is easier to concentrate for two hours than for six hours.
Create a Study Space
Create a study space in your house where you can keep all of your study notes, books, readings, and assessment tasks together. It can save you time from trying to locate your books or from setting up the study area every time you want to study. If possible, try not to create your study space in the main living areas, such as on the kitchen table. Your family may move your notes if other people in your family want to use the space and you will waste valuable time finding your place in your notes again next time you study.
If you don't have an area at home you can separate for online learning, try going to a local library or even a cafe to get away so you can focus. It can be hard to resist the distractions of home -- television, children, or friends stopping by. By having an area that you associate with discipline for school, you'll be more productive and organized as a result.
Studying for a degree online can be easier and less time consuming than travelling to a university to complete the study. However, any degree is a commitment in time and if you want to achieve the degree, you will need to make definite plans and regular times to study.
Participate in Online Class Discussions
With online classes, it can be easy to feel like you're blending into the background, particularly if you find you're not a very social person by nature. This can be an advantage for many students who are otherwise uncomfortable in a traditional classroom environment. But it's still very important to ask questions and participate! Online schools will often have chat rooms or bulletin board discussions that you can join with fellow students, and you can always reach out to your professors via email, or even phone.
Backup Your Online Materials
Since many of your lecture notes and other course materials in an online university are online, you may find it convenient to rely on your online bulletin board or online classroom interface to store and organize your coursework. But what if the Internet goes down the night before that big exam and you can't get to your files? If you can, download your materials and store them on your computer's hard drive, a removable disk or thumb drive, or even print them out and put them in a notebook for safe-keeping. You'll be glad you did, should anything happen to your computer.
Keep Your Focus
It can be easy to get caught up in all of the wonderful opportunities available to you when taking online courses. You might feel tempted to try everything! It's wonderful to try electives, but if you have an educational or professional goal in mind when you start your program, you'll likely feel more focused and dedicated during your studies. Keeping a goal in mind will motivate you to want to do well and will give you a clearer idea of what you'll achieve when you're finished.
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