If you’re new to online learning, you probably have questions about how to be successful in this new learning environment. We asked one of our online academic advisors, Mike O’Malley, to address some common questions he gets from students who are just starting out. Here’s what he had to say.
What would you say to someone who is nervous about starting their online degree program?
Mike O’Malley: I always tell students that it’s okay to be apprehensive. When you start an online degree program, whether you are brand new to online learning or if you haven’t been a student in years, there’s going to be some sort of learning curve. For adult learners in particular, I say that they should allow themselves to be a student first. Sometimes we get adult students who are leaders in their personal lives—maybe a manager or a parent—and then they come into the classroom expecting to have all the answers. In this environment, you’re the learner. If you open yourself up to being a student, you’ll find more success and take more away from this experience.
What types of resources does JWU Online offer for students?
MO: Online students have access to all of the same resources that campus students do. So that includes tech support, library help, financial aid, and others. As an online student, you also have a dedicated academic advisor, a financial planner, and access to the college’s Student Writing Support Specialist. Don’t be afraid ask for help if you need it!
Are faculty members available to answer questions?
MO: Yes! Your faculty member is your number one resource and you shouldn’t be intimidated by them. Faculty are your partners in the learning experience. So I think that a really important piece of your learning is getting the feedback and back-and-forth conversation going between you and your professor. That’s where the learning happens. They’re the number one resource for deepening your learning and will help you grow in areas you’re passionate about.
What type of student do you find excels best in an online course?
MO: I have great students who work-full time jobs and you’d think they’d struggle because they’re so busy. But actually, it’s the opposite. I find that professional students who show up and work at their course like it is a job do great. I don’t have students fail because they’re lacking academically—I have students fail because they don’t ask for help when they need it. That’s one of the main things I’d like prospective students to know. There’s no shame in asking for help, whether it’s from me or your professor. Be proactive.
How can students be successful in the online classroom?
MO: As an academic advisor, I’ve worked with thousands of students, and I always ask the successful ones what their secret was. Really, the only key to success is staying engaged with your coursework. The students who log in frequently—sometimes everyday— and keep up with their work are the ones who have the best outcomes. One of the dangers of online learning is that you are in charge of everything. You need to have discipline and self-motivation because there’s no in-person meetings with a professor to keep you on track. It’s something you need to become accountable for.
Interested in learning online? To learn more about the Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education and how one of our degree programs can help further your career, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.