Overcoming your tech terror

Are you ready to go back to school, and considering enrolling in an online program? Online learning offers more flexibility and control over your schedule, giving you the ability to do schoolwork whenever and wherever works best for you.

But maybe you’re feeling a little intimidated about the technology required to participate in an online program, especially if you don’t identify as being tech savvy. If so, don’t worry — we know you’ve got this, and we’ve got the proof to back it up. After all, we want you to be able to focus on your studies, not your software.


Remember that you’ve done this before

Even if you’re inexperienced with or afraid of technology, you probably know more than you realize. Think about your job. Chances are, you use some form of technology daily to perform your job functions, and you didn’t just show up on day one knowing exactly what to do. It took some time to learn the tricks of the trade, but you grasped it — and once you did, it became second nature. Online learning is just like that…and good news! The technology utilized by online programs is specifically designed to be user-friendly for busy students.

Starting anything new can be intimidating, but with experience comes confidence. Each time you log in, you are “studying” the program. Eventually, just like in your current job, it becomes an afterthought.

And if you still doubt yourself because technology really isn’t your thing, bear in mind that you don’t have to become a tech professional overnight. In fact, you don’t have to become one at all! You just need to set aside a little time to get familiar with how to turn in assignments and communicate with your classmates and instructor. That’s it — you can do it!


Check your syllabus and make a calendar

Planning is essential. You’re already busy, so set yourself up for success by staying organized. The first thing you’ll want to access is your course syllabus. Take note of all your assignments and deadlines so that you can make sure everything is completed before the due date. Giving yourself a little extra time between when you plan to finish your schoolwork and when it’s due will help you breathe easier if you run into any unexpected tech issues. 

Tip: While online calendars may be a great resource for some, if you don’t love technology, they only present another platform you’d need to learn. There’s nothing wrong with old-school, pen-and-paper planners. Record all of your assignments in your planner and refer to it regularly — no extra tech required. (Psst…check out our tips for finding a planner that’s right for you.) 


Block out dedicated study time

Time management is key when it comes to staying successful in online classes. You’ll want to arrange your schedule to plan for study time. Plus, if this is the first time you’re going to school online, you’ll need to budget a little extra time in the first few weeks while you’re getting used to where things are and how they work. 

Tip: Don’t take on more than you know you can handle, especially in the beginning. Try easing into online learning by starting with just one class. Once you get more familiar with the process, you can ramp up your schedule with additional credits. 


Ask for help

Don’t be shy about asking questions. From your kids to your coach — you’ve got a lot of people in your corner who are here to help. Plus, most online schools have additional resources to assist students with navigating their platform, such as a 24-hour technology help desk, a technological support center, or even live technology training.

Tip: Use your library. Libraries don’t only offer a quiet space to work — they’re also fully equipped with tech-savvy librarians. 



You’re not alone in feeling nervous to dive into online learning, but you have what it takes to be successful…and you also have access to all the tools, resources, and support you’ll need. To start, read part two of this series and get answers to even more questions about returning to school online.

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