How to Survive a Sociology Class Online

So, you've decided to take your sociology class online. Online classes are great, but how can you survive them? Your first step is to get started.


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    Invest in the textbook. No matter how smart you are, you really need the textbook to complete the class unless the teacher says otherwise. Wait until your teacher uploads all your instructions before purchasing the book. You may not be required to purchase your book at your bookstore, you may be able to purchase it on something like or eBay. If you don't want to wait for the instructions to be posted, it is appropriate to email your professor and ask questions.
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    Spend a few minutes reviewing the syllabus and accompanying course materials. While reviewing them, ask yourself: "Is this something I can do? Can I really take this class this quarter/semester?" Look at your circumstances and decide if you are ready to take the class.
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    Set time aside everyday for study. Do not think that just because a class is online that you are not required to learn the material.
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    Complete the homework on time the first day of the week. Do not wait until the last day; few teachers grant extensions for online classes.
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    Take all tests well before the required date. Find out whether they are open-book (meaning you are able to use your textbook), or closed book (meaning you are not able to use your textbook). This will allow you to determine how much studying you have to do. Remember that an open book test isn't a reason not to study. In online classes, the tests are often timed, allowing limited ability to look up the answers.
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    Make sure that you know if the tests will be allowed as "open book," which will let you use he book while doing them, or closed book. If the tests are at a testing center, this means that they will likely be closed book. Always ask the professor about the assignment and ask questions.
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    Complete all homework at least one day before it is due so that you can proofread it the next morning before sending it in.
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    Follow the tips below for advice on testing issues.


  • Highlight anything that relates to your teacher's lectures, PowerPoints, or other materials.
  • When reading through your textbook, pay special attention to definitions and statistics. Definitions are something like, "Deindustrialization: The systematic, widespread withdrawal of investment in basic aspects of productivity, such as factories and plants." Statistics will look something like this: "45% of all statistics are incorrect."
  • If your teacher doesn't provide many additional materials, make your own PowerPoints or media.
  • It's usually more important to pay attention to the definitions than the statistics. Usually, the professor will give warning as to what is important; however, do not rely on this. Do your own research.
  • Pay attention to any pictures in the textbook, especially in a class that is humanities or art. Reflect on how they make you feel.
  • Make a video or blog on the subject to help your understanding & awareness of it.


  • Do not miss the deadline for exams. Exams are often worth a huge percentage of your grade, and can fail you if you're not careful. If you've waited until the last day and you still aren't ready, then take it anyway; getting some points is better than none.
  • Do not put off homework. Some teachers will not accept homework late.

Things You'll Need

  • Sociology textbook
  • Pens, paper, and time
  • Self-dedication: While some teachers email students to remind them about projects, you can't be sure of this. Make sure all your assignments are on time.
  • A computer or laptop
  • Stable internet access
  • Access to a testing center

Article Info

Categories: Distance Learning