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This is a guest post from Dee Barizo. He writes for TheBestDegrees.org, a site that features the best online degrees.

Online college can be a difficult environment to transition to if you are used to on-campus courses. Without the face-to-face interaction and set class schedule times, online learning can feel very different from traditional education. You may need to adjust your mindset and expectations to meet your educational goals.

Fortunately, there are skills you can learn to make the transition smoother, earn high grades, and learn the important concepts about your field. This article describes four skills that will help you become a successful online student.

Navigate the E-Learning System

E-learning programs provide the virtual classroom to interact with the professor and other students and complete the coursework. The popular programs like WebBoard, ANGEL, or BlackBoard/WebCT are equipped with at least one tutorial. Complete the tutorial to get an overview of how to use the applications and resources within the program. You should get very familiar with the virtual environment so that you can efficiently navigate within it and not waste time.

Along with tutorials, many e-learning systems include interactive help sections. If you want help from a live person, don’t hesitate to contact tech support. They can give you specific advice for your software issues. Many online schools offer 24/7 tech support, so you may be able to receive help even during late night or early morning study sessions.

Establish a Routine

Achieving success in online degree programs, for instance at the University of Phoenix online, will require establishing and following a routine for working on and finishing assignments. Without the set class times, it is easy to procrastinate and fall behind on your studies.

At the beginning of each week, create a schedule based on the free time you foresee in the week. For each open time block, write down a specific task that will move your classwork further along to completion. This planning time helps you become organized with your class responsibilities. You will be focused during the week and be reminded at opportune times to move forward on your assignments.

Evaluate Your Communication

Your online communication through discussion forums, emails, and written assignment submissions create an impression on your instructor. Evaluate and edit all your communication before you submit them. Professors try to grade every assignment as objectively as possible, but if you have created a good impression of yourself through your writing, your instructor will be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt during grading. Reading the feedback from your instructor on written assignments, email messages, and forums can guide your thinking for future assignments and exams.

Network with Other Online Students

Online tutoring is not your only option for getting assistance with studying for online courses. You can get help from your professor through email, and you can form strategic partnerships with the other students. Fellow students can give good suggestions for completing a certain project. They can serve as peer readers for your papers. If you live in the same geographical area, you can even get together with fellow students and study for exams. Chatting via telephone, Skype, or web cameras offers alternatives to traditional study groups.

Also, share what you’ve learned with your peers. By teaching them, you internalize the information for yourself and solidify your grasp on the concepts. The students will appreciate your knowledge and be motivated to help you in the future.

Online learning combines new educational delivery methods with more traditional methods like the course syllabus, papers, and exams. By applying the above tips, you can make the virtual classroom a tool for academic and workplace success.

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