How to Succeed While Studying Computer Science Online
- Graduate School Basics
- Study Hacks
- Request Feedback
- Fact vs. Myth
- The Do’s and Don’ts
Self-help articles that tell readers to simply think positive and visualize success won’t be much help for online computer science students. This is because online education requires organization, discipline, and hard work. Doing so will result in a high GPA, a confident job search and a strong sense of personal success.
Related resource: Top 50 Master’s in Computer Science Degree Programs
1. Graduate School Basics
First, online master’s in computer science degree programs may require GRE scores. The GRE may be taken on a scheduled test date or at a computerized test center. Second, graduate schools may require anywhere from one to three letters of recommendation from professionals like professors, employers, and student advisors. The best way is to simply as a prospective writer if they think they know you well enough to write a supportive letter. Third, a personal statement that covers your academic aspirations, work history or research goals may be required. Always demonstrate how your personal experiences will help you succeed in computer science studies.
2. Study Hacks
Computer science degree students will have to read and remember a lot of technical information, so excellent study skills are needed. While reading textbooks and course materials, consider maintaining a Word bibliography with notes for possible use in upcoming assignments. Begin by reviewing the chapter’s conclusion and table of contents before you read the other sections. If the assignment topic is up to the student, consider a problem-solving theme. Focus on what problems computer science experts and trendsetters have historically faced or recently resolved.
3. Request Feedback
Research conducted by the Department of Education’s ERIC indicates that “interactive formative feedback” is very important for online learning success. Establishing trust and rapport with online peers and professors appears challenging but is actually easier than traditional classrooms. Online blackboards and discussions minimize social anxiety, so communication may be enhanced. Many online professors excel at commenting on discussion points but may struggle with formally scheduled phone calls during the semester. Be sure to ask for one-on-one conferences with professors and pre-request constructive criticism and suggestions.
4. Fact vs. Myth
There are many myths about online education that may negatively impact a student’s performance. First, only some online degrees are self-paced with flexible due dates. Most online degrees follow the same academic schedule with specific due dates, such as posting two weekly discussion replies by the end of every Thursday. Online final exams will be timed, but weekly practice quizzes may be retaken. Some programs allow students to submit assignments ahead of the due date. Online students are rarely required to be online at the same time. Some professors post live or recorded video events where they give updates, praise, and disciplinary reminders.
5. The Do’s and Don’ts
Online education requires students to have excellent time management skills. Consider creating your own study schedule with deadlines and priorities. Stay focused because there is always something that needs to be re-written or completed. When it comes to peer-reviewed assignments and papers, encourage feedback and private discussions. Going to school online is just as rigorous and exhausting as attending a brick-and-mortar school, so always schedule time for family, relaxation and getting outside.
An online master’s degree in computer science is a great opportunity to improve yourself, work independently and enhance your career options. Those who avoid procrastinating projects and taking on too many outside commitments will be successful.