How to Study Online

The global outbreak of the Covid-19 had disrupted a number of programmes—from businesses to education. However, one thing it did not disrupt is the need for one to think about his or her future, particularly in the post-Corvid19 era.

This post is going to look at one fundamental aspect of education, which I suspect affects the future of education, that of online education. Much had been written across the web on this subject, however, I will be sticking to the main theme of this site, that of accessible education for those who are blind or visually impaired.

What is online education?

The way to understand online education is that of receiving education using some platform other than face-to-face interaction. This is my understanding anyway, so you do not need to go check it up in the dictionary. This understanding has got an advantage in that:

  • You have to bear in mind that any education provided outside the traditional classroom, over a distance, is “online”
  • This means that online education is not a new phenomenon as a number of pundits would like us to believe. It had been in existence even before the advent of the Internet as correspondence education.
  • Thus, online education can be provided through mail, telephone, mobile phones or the Internet.

In all cases, online education is flexible. You take classes at your own time. This means that a degree programme that is scheduled for four years in the classroom may be taken in eight years time.

Such flexibility is a double-edged sword, though: while it permits you to conduct your own lessons for as long as you like, this may translate into endless postponments. These in turn may end in you never achieving your goal.

The right attitude with online education

So what is the right attitude towards online education? This has to do with setting goals.

Unlike traditional education whereby someone had to make decisions for you to attend school, online education in most cases has to do with your own decision. What is it that you want to achieve in life?

  • Perhaps you need a specialised skill to help you carry out your job properly?
  • Could it be that you are taking some classes offline and wish to supplement your fund of knowledge?
  • Or you had been dreaming of getting some certificate or degree for a long time, but failing to create enough time to go back to college?

These could be some of your motivations for taking online classes. However, the issue is that you should be in charge of your own goals: do not take an online course without a clear goal. You won’t have any motive in completing it.

Beyond mental preparation

It is not enough to just be mentally prepared and set goals. The next thing is to think of the courses or degrees you wish to enroll into.

Even more important, at the time of your application, the surest way to succeed in your studies is to start researching into that subject.

If you have online access, there is no reason why you should start reading the books and related content at the time you start your online studies. So to put it in another way: don’t start reading your course material the first day you are enrolled. Instead, be sure to read it before you are enrolled.

My suggestion is that if you know that you wish to attain a certificate in English Communication for Business, then

  • The moment you resolve that you have to attain that certificate, start looking for material on that subject namely
    • English writing;
    • Communication;
  • Research on the syllabus and course structure of that course, either from the college or university providing that subject;
  • Start studying and understand.
  • Take notes, practise quizzes and mock exams.
  • Then after mastering the content, you can then apply.

So from this, you see that you can only apply for online programmes after you’ve already understood most of the stuff. You are only applying for certification.

Why is this important? Because in most online programmes today, there are hard deadlines and soft deadlines. You don’t want to miss on submitting your assignments because you are struggling to understand some lesson.

Some lecturers or instructors offering online lessons expect you to do this anyway. Or they may not be delivering the course material in the way you understand. So it is better that you do your homework on the subject first prior to enrollment, rather than waiting to start your lessons the first day you are enrlled.

Otherwise, I wish you all good luck in your studies, and stay safe during these days of trouble.

Ishe Chinyoka
Ishe Chinyoka
Access Technology Instructor

My research interests include operating systems, access technology, programming, and science fiction.