Set Your Technology Up for SuccessThis step is easily overlooked, especially by younger students who are confident in their computer’s abilities. While most home computers should be able to handle an online class, medical classes can contain more advanced programs that aging or very low graphics machines may struggle with. Classes such as anatomy and physiology use advanced simulation software, so it is always worthwhile to ensure your home computer is up to the challenge.
Technical mistakes happen, and computers fail students all the time. It is crucial for an online student to back up their data and assignments, especially for major projects, onto a flash drive or online data storage. There is no worse feeling than finding that your final paper or project has been deleted or waking up one morning to the dreaded blinking cursor.
Reach Out to the ProfessorThe lack of face-to-face contact with the professor is one the biggest differences between an online program and one in a classroom. Many students tend to overlook the professor as just a faceless entity that posts and grades assignments, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Professors of online classes are often the same people that teach in-class, and they are a resource that shouldn't be ignored. It may be harder to connect with a professor online, but making the extra effort to send out a few emails, especially if there is a program or question, and preferably before one arises, can make a huge difference.
Keep the Same Dedication You Would in the ClassroomOne of the greatest advantages to an online program is its flexibility. Students can work on assignments whenever they please so long as they meet the deadlines. This flexibility is also an online program’s biggest danger. A student who loses track of assignments or begins to cram things in at the end of the week will either fail the course entirely or not learn as much from it as they should. Online classes, especially with complex medical subjects, take the same time and dedication as when the material is taught in the classroom. It is best to make a schedule and treat the course just as if it was a class to go to several days a week.
The greatest weakness of online programs is the lack of hands-on experience. Check with your professor and ask if there is any opportunity for hands-on experience that he or she might connect you with. If your program does not require it already, then it is crucial to get into a hospital or clinic for some hands-on work before you graduate.