By: Craig Gilman, Faculty Member
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Chinese proverb
Many military spouses find that taking online college courses are a workable way to continue their education or keep abreast of a career field. As a professor at American Military University where all classes are online, I have seen many capable students stumble and want to offer some steps that can help you succeed.
Plan your time wisely.
Plan to spend about 12-15 hours per week for each undergraduate course. Identify the times you have available for study. Share your goals and explain your commitment to your family, friends, and colleagues.
Get off to a good start.
The first week of a course is often one of the busiest and most important. Visit and review the classroom on day one, even if you cannot study that day. Read the information presented and navigate around to become familiar with the set up. Learn your professor’s name and contact information. Say hi!
Develop a written schedule.
Use the course syllabus and create a schedule based on the times that you have available to study and do schoolwork. Staying on top of all assignments is key to building a feeling of accomplishment and avoiding becoming overwhelmed.
Surround yourself with success.
Identify classmates who share the same degree program or career field. They make good study partners. Get contact information with professors and classmates that you want to add to your professional network.
Assess your progress and make any necessary adjustments.
Review comments made by the professor; ask questions as needed. Review your participation and interaction in the online classroom. Note and respond to those who replied to your discussion. Respectfully consider responses to questions you might have asked others. Make a concerted effort to share information that adds to the class experience for everyone.
Be sure you have an academic plan that gives you a roadmap of courses to take and the pace you want to maintain. Semester by semester you will get closer to your goal. Be sure to reward yourself for your efforts along the way.
About the Author
Craig Gilman is an online adjunct who teaches COLL100 and for the School of Education at American Military University. A veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps, he is a former, certified public school secondary social studies teacher with a MS in Education and MA in International Relations from Old Dominion University.