Accelerated Online Courses: New Strategies for Successful Learning

As we begin rolling out our new eight-week online courses this summer, it’s important to consider the strategies that student need to be successful in an accelerated online format.

Accelerated online courses can save you time and money and are good for the environment too! Rather than commuting to and from class, you can complete your course when it’s convenient for you. Online learning can take place anywhere—across the nation, overseas, on a plane, train, or even in a submarine (yes, we had a student complete online courses while on submarine duty in the Navy). Our accelerated courses last for 8 weeks, allowing you to focus on a course topic and often complete your degree program more quickly and efficiently. At the same time though, accelerated online classes require diligence and hard work of both the students and teacher.

All our online courses are carefully designed to maximize your learning experience. Based on the latest research in the best practices in online teaching, they incorporate constructivist, social, and experiential learning theory and practice to help you learn more effectively. You will use technology to interact with your instructor, your fellow students, and relevant course content. You will have the opportunity to develop knowledge that will directly benefit you in your career by applying what you are learning it to real-life problems. Keep in mind that you are not a passive observer in our courses, but an active participant. Learning takes place when we not only take in new information but also do something with it! To make learning stick, we must discuss it with classmates and experts, use it to solve real-life problems, connect it with our work, and most importantly, reflect on what we are learning. Our courses provide ample opportunity for these critical learning activities. Assignments and activities are designed to help you deepen your understanding and apply what you learn to new situations.

Accelerated courses require dedicated commitment from you. What you put into your course will greatly affect what you get from it. You will need to be more diligent than ever to make sure that you don’t fall behind to maximize your learning benefit.

Here are strategies used by past students that helped them succeed in accelerated courses:

  • Complete readings before the Module begins to make sure you are off to a quick start.
  • Log into the course site at least 3 times each week to post to forums and follow-up on the posts of others.
  • Start working on written assignments early in the Module, so you aren’t rushing at the end to finish.
  • Don’t forget to take the time to reflect on what you have learned. Considering recording your learning in a journal or notebook to take an active role in your learning experience. Also, be sure to think about how you might use and apply what you have learned.

Summary of Key Points

  • Learning is not a spectator sport—you need to stay actively involved.
  • Take the initiative and be a self-directed learner.
  • Accelerated courses move quickly and require regular attention and diligence.
  • You will learn more and use it more effectively if you stay active and engaged.
  • Your assignments will help you learn and apply new knowledge.

We want to hear from you. If you are a student taking an accelerated online course or a teacher facilitating a course, add a comment to this post to let us know if you have additional suggestions or success strategies to add to our list.

One comment

  • Great blog post! Thank you for sharing strategies for success!

    A few additional tips that work for me:

    Effective time-management:
    I chunk the weekly module assignments into smaller components. This helps me feel as though I am making progress along the way; rather than trying to cram everything in at once. This strategy keeps me from feeling overwhelmed by the end of the week.

    Dedicated Study Space:
    I like to have a dedicated, soothing and clutter free work-space to spread out my course materials and laptop. This helps my mind focus and keeps me from impulsively cleaning the area around me as a distraction. Sometimes, I will light a candle, plug in a salt lamp or use essential oils to make my study space extra Zen.

    Music:
    I have few playlists that I like to listen to; which help me breathe, focus on the content and lift my spirits.

    Breaks:
    I often use a timer and set a goal for myself. E.g., I will work for 1-hour on a specific task then give myself a break and permission to wander.

    Hope this helps someone!
    Lucinda

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