How to Succeed in an Online Programming Class

Online education is becoming commonplace in the field of information technology and with the pandemic many students are taking classes from home. With this shift comes a need to develop the skills required to be successful with remote learning. Online learning requires you to be focused, persistent and dedicated to your education, but it also involves choosing the best online learning platform for the subject you’re taking. 

General Online Class Skills

If you are taking any online classes from home, you know it requires additional skills and concentration to be successful. It can be easy to hop on social media or do a load of laundry when you are taking classes from home, so it’s up to you to stay focused.

Set Up Your Work Environment

Start with creating a work environment that is conducive to learning. Clear your desk, shut off the television, and silence your phone. Try wearing noise cancelling headphones to reduce distractions. An ergonomic chair, keyboard and mouse at your workstation allows you to be comfortable for long periods of time.

Practice Time Management

Time management is the hardest part of taking online classes from home – and the most important. Too often we hear students say, “I’ll get caught up this weekend,” and this weekend never comes. 

We suggest blocking out entire days or hours each week to focus on your classwork. An online calendar or planner will block out the time needed to dedicate to your online class. Keep your family and friends in the know for the times and days you need to focus. Make them feel part of your success! 

Take Breaks

Dedication to your coursework is admirable but remember to schedule breaks for yourself. A drink of water and an energy snack can do wonders for concentration. It allows you time to recharge. 

Drinking some water and resting your eyes are especially helpful when working on computers. Tired eyes have difficulty focusing so you won’t get the most of your education. Regular breaks ensure you are grasping each section of your coursework thoroughly. 

Communication is Key

Even though you aren’t there in person, communication with your course instructors, other pupils, or colleagues is essential. When you reach a roadblock in the curriculum that you can’t solve on your own, ask for help before moving on. Often online coursework will build on itself. If you don’t understand one section you may not be able to move onto the next.  

Also, as you go through the coursework, take time to write down questions or areas of confusion for future conversations with course instructors. Sometimes when taking in a lot of information, you may forget that you struggled with understanding a prior section. This will jog your memory and ensure you get the most of your online education.

Applying Skills to Online Programming Classes

Now that you have the skills to take any online course and succeed, you’ll want to apply these skills specifically for programming classes. First and foremost, you want to select an online programming class that integrates solutions for the skills listed above into the coursework.

We recommend researching the teaching methods and course layout of online programming courses before selecting one. You want an online course that sets you up for success by how it’s organized, the resources available and the communication tools in place. 

There are numerous online programming education options available, especially recently. Though options are numerous, not all online classes are created equal. To be successful in an online course, you must select the best one.

Integrated Time Management

Look for online courses that integrate time management and accountability into the curriculum. This added resource will help you stay on track during your online programming education.

imPower Technologies offers progress reports for our students and their employers to increase accountability and provide employers with an ROI. The progress reports allow both students and their managers to see the status of their online coursework. This extra level of accountability assists with time management and we find more students complete the coursework when progress reports are utilized.

When we work with employers, we recommend allowing students to focus half of their time on their coursework and half of their time on the business. This is especially important with new developers who need to learn how the business operates in order to effectively develop programs for business operations. Seasoned developers, also, use that time to apply the new skills they learned in real world applications for your business.

Communication Tools Built In

Some online programming courses are very hands-off. Students are given the coursework and expected to learn on their own. It can be hard to be successful when you hit roadblocks because you have limited resources to fall back on.  

imPower Technologies has built two communication tools directly into our courses. We offer Help Tickets students can submit at any time when they have questions or need clarification during their education. We are dedicated to answering these questions as quickly as possible, so students can continue learning. 

We also have a weekly live discussion forum with Jim Buck designed to allow students to ask questions, get clarification and pick Jim’s brain. Our students have raved about this weekly discussion because Jim goes above and beyond for the success of his students.

Coursework Layout and Design

The last – and most important – part of any online programming course is the curriculum design and layout. It is imperative that coursework is tailored to learning and student success. 

From years of experience teaching in higher education, Jim designed imPower Technologies courses with student success in mind. For the IBM i course there are nine sections with two chapters per section. Each chapter has a video, lecture, sample code, and quiz. At the end of each section, students receive a programming assignment that helps apply what they have learned to real problems. 

In programming assignments, students are asked to apply code they learned in previous sections. This helps build their skillset and understand how things work together for developing code in the real world. Upon completion of Jim’s classes, students are ready to apply their skills to their current positions. 

As you select an online programming class for yourself or your employee, don’t forget to choose a program designed around student success and apply these skills to ensure you get the most from your investment. 

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