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10 Tips for Improving Your Walden Course Performance
The successful completion of an online degree program at Walden University is dependent upon your academic performance. Understandably, it can sometimes feel as though you’ve hit a wall as you work through assignments. In those instances, it’s good to have a general idea of what you can do to jump-start your efforts and stay on track. Here are 10 helpful tips on how you can improve your online course performance as you earn your bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, or certificate from Walden.
- Manage your time.
Time management is key when it comes to academic improvement, and the ability to effectively allocate time to specific assignments can make all the difference. For instance, if you’re tasked with writing a paper, try to determine how much time each phase will take. Maybe the bulk of your time will be spent conducting research and creating an outline, or perhaps you’re well-versed on the topic and will spend more time crafting and revising. By having a general understanding of the hours you will spend on each part of the process, you will be better able to stay on top of things.
- Find a productive workspace.
Productivity is inspired in different ways for different people, and there is no one-size-fits-all workspace. Though a quiet area with minimal distraction is typically an environment conducive to learning, it’s important to create a space that specifically aligns with how you work best. Some individuals may need complete silence, whereas others may prefer background noise or music. Some individuals may find they are more productive in a public setting, like a library or coffee shop, and others may find they stay on task more at home. Get a feel for where you work best by observing your productivity levels in different spaces. Ultimately, the more comfortable and focused you are in a workspace, the better you will perform.
- Foster effective study habits.
Sometimes you just need to study smarter, not harder. This means fostering good study habits. For example, don’t cram for a test in one night; instead, space out the information you need to study over the course of a few days or weeks. Take good notes, which often includes reviewing and outlining what you learned so that the teachings are as clear as possible. Participate in study groups when available and take turns quizzing each other. Whatever you do, make sure that you maintain the practices you find helpful so that they become habits over time and lead to improvement across your courses.
- Decode discussion and assignment prompts.
To effectively respond to a prompt, you must fully understand what you are being asked to do. Also referred to as guidelines or instructions, prompts typically contain a lot of information. That’s why it’s a good practice to highlight or note the title of an assignment, any length or resource requirements, the due date, and action verbs (e.g., “analyze” or “compare”). Taking the time to carefully identify these details will help you decode any given prompt, improving your understanding of the assignment and enabling you to craft a response that checks all the necessary boxes.
- Use a rubric.
Course instructors often use a rubric to grade assignments. However, a rubric can also be used by you as the learner. When used in conjunction with an assignment’s prompt, a rubric becomes a powerful tool that can give you a better idea of what the final product should look like. When a rubric is provided, it will often highlight the elements of the assignment that are most important, the expectations for scholarly writing, and details you might’ve missed when reading the initial prompt. Use a rubric both before and after completing your assignment—before to determine what to include and after to ensure that you included everything that was needed.
- Receive and apply instructor feedback.
Qualitive feedback is often given on your performance, in addition to a numerical grade. And though feedback from an instructor isn’t always positive, it can provide invaluable insight on what we can do to improve. That’s why it’s important to view feedback as an opportunity for growth and apply it as needed in the future. To objectively receive feedback, read your instructor’s comments with an open mind and at the right time. When you’re ready, correct and revise as needed and make a plan for any future assignments where the same feedback could be applied. If any feedback is unclear, ask your instructor for clarification.
- Ask for help.
We often gain deeper insight into a subject when we inquire more about it. So if you find yourself confused, uncertain, or curious about a lesson, reach out to faculty and/or peers to enhance your understanding. Fortunately, Walden offers a variety of student support services so that you have access to help when you need it most. Whether it’s academic writing support, library research support, or other academic services, Walden can provide the tools you need to improve throughout your educational journey.
- Take short breaks.
Though it’s good to stay focused as you complete your coursework, sometimes a short break can go a long way. Taking a step back from your studies allows you to reset, boosting your concentration and creativity. Some individuals find it beneficial to follow the Pomodoro Technique, studying for 25 minutes uninterrupted and then taking a five-minute break. Others may defer to what feels right for them, choosing to take breaks when they catch themselves daydreaming or losing focus. Start adding breaks into your routine and it’s likely you’ll improve your productivity level.
- Stay organized.
It’s easier said than done, but being organized is invaluable when it comes to improving your course performance. When you stay organized, you can more easily keep track of things. From assignment deadlines to exam dates to feedback and other communications, there’s a lot of information that you must stay on top of as you move through your program. It’s helpful to keep a planner handy to write down weekly tasks, and different folders and binders can be used for each subject. Keeping separate email accounts—personal, professional, and academic—can also help you effectively organize ongoing communications.
- Stop procrastinating.
Whenever possible, do today what you may otherwise put off until the day after tomorrow. Procrastination has a bad reputation for good reason—it can lead to higher levels of stress, poor academic performance, and self-criticism. That being said, procrastination is not the deliberate time we take to thoughtfully mull over or reflect on an assignment. Rather, it’s the chronic action of delaying a task (or set of tasks) that need to be completed. Try your best to get a head start on assignments and allow yourself ample time to complete your work instead of waiting until the last minute.
Earn Your Online Degree From an Accredited University Designed to Support You
Walden University is a great choice for working professionals who are looking to advance their career as they continue to work full time. With an array of student and academic services, including Student Success Advisors, a Career Services Center, library research support, and more, Walden can give you the support you need as you embark upon your educational journey. And thanks to online education, you can earn your degree in an accessible environment that allows you to maintain a better work-life balance.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering high-quality online degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, as well as online certificate programs. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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