You've chosen to earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration via online classes for a reason. And more than likely, it's because you have many commitments that would make a traditional program difficult at best.
The good news is, according to a 2018 survey by Ruffalo Noel Levitz, 75 percent of online learners reported that they would re-enroll in their online program, if they had the opportunity to do it all over again. But before you jump in, take a minute to see what challenges may come and how to overcome them.
Know What You're Signing up For
Courses are usually available before the start date. So, log on to Moodle (the portal used by LSUA) and get the lay of the land. That's right — become familiar with the technology. Is there a Discussion Board? Where do you upload assignments? Professors spend hours on this and with good reason. The digital syllabus should tell you everything you need to know regarding expectations and course requirements.
Enter all the assignments into your electronic or print calendar. This calendar should include anything that is scheduled or needs to be scheduled in your life: study time, work, laundry, gym, etc. Explain your educational goals to your family and why your online education is important to you. Keep your friends and colleagues abreast of your situation too. Remind yourself and those close to you that this is not a forever situation.
Each unit of credit requires 2 to 3 hours of outside classwork per week, per CliffsNotes estimates. This means students taking 7-week classes worth three credits apiece should plan to spend 6-9 hours per week per course.
Eliminate and Concentrate
Block off study time and have a space at home that is free from distractions. Set your phone on Do Not Disturb and silence any notifications. Don't even think about checking in on social media. After 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted study time, reward yourself with a short break.
Get your priorities straight and then learn to say no. This is not the time to volunteer to take on another work project. Know when to delegate and when to ask for help.
Prepare for the Unexpected
If there is no wiggle room in your schedule, you're setting yourself up for failure. Remember Murphy's Law. "If things can go wrong, they will." Know that kids can get sick, work can get hectic, and the list goes on.
Wi-Fi down or your computer crashes? Be aware that technical problems related to your computer cannot be used as an excuse for failure to complete assignments on time or to participate online. That being said, many instructors will work with you if problems arise, depending on the circumstances.
Students can and do manage to balance work, family and school. But it doesn't happen without forethought and planning. Successful students know what they're signing up for. They organize their lives as much as possible by keeping a current calendar and adjusting as needed. And then because nothing in life goes as planned, the best students have backup plans and build some flexibility into their lives for the unexpected.
"Online learning is the future of education because it gives individuals the flexibility to integrate learning on a continual basis to prepare for these career changes," advises Dr. Randall Dupont, associate professor of management at Louisiana State University of Alexandria.
Learn more about LSUA's online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program.
Sources:CliffsNotes: How Much Outside Class Study Time Is Recommended for Every Hour of Class Time for College Freshmen?
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