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Five Biggest Mistakes to Avoid as an Online Student

In the wake of COVID-19, schools across the nation are transitioning to remote learning environments. High schools, community and technical colleges, and higher educational institutions are offering classes or even entire degrees online.

Young woman sitting at desk using laptop, in student dormitory

Whether you’re completing an online continuing medical education (CME) course to maintain your ARDMS credential, taking an online course to prepare for an allied health program, or completing an entire degree online, the flexibility of online education is often advantageous. However, there’s potential for problems and complications to arise. It’s important to make sure you’re fully prepared for your online courses, and to avoid the five common mistakes listed below that may prevent the completion of your education.

1. Technical Difficulties

When taking an online course, it’s important to ensure that you have access to a reliable computer equipped with the proper hardware. Your online program should list the required browser versions and operating systems for each course. This will allow you to access the materials required to complete your education and degree.

It’s also crucial that you familiarize yourself with the curriculum, syllabus, and how to navigate your virtual classroom. This may include contacting your school or professor for further instruction. By doing so, you can prevent technical confusion that may hinder your education.

2. Poor Time Management

One of the biggest mistakes an online student can make is assuming they have all the time in the world to finish assignments. Waiting until the last minute to submit homework or finish a test can create anxiety and stress. In addition, the assignment a student rushed to complete most likely won’t accurately depict their best work.

Some online instructors will create a schedule for you that lists when assignments should be completed, while others won’t. Either way, it’s a good idea to discipline yourself by creating your own schedule, using some sort of planner or calendar, and checking it everyday. This way, you can prioritize your assignments and avoid forgetting to submit an important project.

3. Lack of Participation

It can be very tempting for some students to feel like they don’t have to be involved in online class discussions, even when it’s required by professors. Those that make this mistake miss out on the ability to participate in a forum where fellow students post their personal perspectives, which may come in handy for future individual assignments.

4. Tempting Distractions

Many online students can be susceptible to distractions as they complete their projects and assignments. They may leave the TV on as they work, frequently check social media or get in touch with friends, or listen to music ineffectively.

These distractions are very tempting because they’re often more enjoyable than homework. However, they can impede the completion of independent assignments. Not maintaining focus on your online course can result in simple, otherwise avoidable mistakes that may have a detrimental affect on your final grade.

5. Not Asking For Help

Because an online student can’t see their professors in person, it can be easy for them to forget that they can reach out to them for help. If you’re having difficulty with an assignment or navigating your online class, don’t hesitate to email your professor during their office hours. Part of a teacher’s job is being available to their students in times of confusion, which can allow you to receive direct answers to your questions and gain a more complete understanding of what’s expected of you as an online student.

“Online classes may offer a lot more leeway in terms of time, flexibility and freedom but those advantages don’t also mean they will make the class easier,” says Business 2 Community’s Peter Kim. “Online college courses are actually designed to prepare students to be more independent, both with the technologies they will encounter and the expectations that their job and the industry will have for them when they enter the workforce. So online college courses shouldn’t be seen as an easy way to get an A on your record. They really should be viewed as a job that requires attention to detail, an open learning environment and a willingness to face new ideas and concepts in an ever changing world.”

Pursuing a Sonography Degree Online

While online classes can be convenient, medical imaging and diagnostic medical sonography require hands-on learning that can only be completed in person. Therefore an online DMS class would not benefit an aspiring sonographer’s education.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), the major accrediting body for medical imaging programs, has given their award of accreditation to only four online programs nationwide. These programs have been able to successfully balance the online learning environment with the clinical, didactic learning that is required to be a successful sonographer. The four programs are listed below:

If you’re currently enrolled in or have been accepted to a CAAHEP accredited program, you’re also eligible to apply for the UltrasoundSchoolsInfo semi-annual $1,000 scholarship. Click here to learn more.

Christina Fanello – Author

Christina Fanello
Christina is a contributor and the copy editor for USI and is responsible for controlling the quality of the content on the website.  She is currently pursuing her degree in Psychology at Western Washington University (online for now, due to Covid-19) and expects to graduate in 2022.  She then plans to pursue her Masters Degree and go into private practice.


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