Macleans: Alexander Davidson on keys to managing online courses

In the past several years, online learning has become a significant part of the university and college experience; 29 percent of all Canadian university students registered for online courses, according to a 2016 survey by EduConsillium, a consulting firm. But are all online courses created equally? How can you be sure that digital learning is right for you? If you choose to take an online course, what can you do to ensure that you earn the best possible grade? The tip that comes up most often is simple: build online courses into your weekly schedule just like you would in-person courses. Professor Alex Davidson of Wayne State University teaches the same course in person and online. He noted that his online students usually end up with lower grades: “I post lecture videos for the online course and I can track how many views they get. They never reach the full class size, indicating that there are quite a few students who don’t bother to watch them.” It is so easy to let an online course slide, but your grades will suffer as a result. Be sure to schedule set times to watch your lectures, read materials and contribute to online discussion boards.