1. A little bit everyday: Udacity courses are made up of units that are comprised of a series of short videos; each is on average 2-3 minutes. With this in mind, make a realistic schedule that allows you to chip away at the video nuggets and gives you enough time to complete the homework problems. Designate a time slot each day, or maybe three days a week for your course. Just like a class on campus, make your Udacity course part of your day-to-day.
2. Be patient: If the course you have signed up for is not something you have studied before, or if you have not taken a class for some time, be patient with yourself. Online learning is a different mode of acquiring knowledge that may take some getting used to. Take the time to become familiar with this type of instruction by re-watching videos or stepping away for a little while if you become frustrated or confused about a topic or idea. Remember, this is YOUR education, the only person you have to answer to is yourself, so be patient and take the time to learn.
3. Take short notes: It will be helpful for you to jot down examples and ideas that you liked or found challenging. Throughout the learning process, remember that it is just as important to know what you don’t know as well as what you do. As you watch the videos, write down helpful hints from the instructor or key points from the lecture. Additionally, if you think your notes would be beneficial to others, contribute to Udacity's wiki class notes!
4. Make friends: There are literally thousands of students taking classes at Udacity right now. Use this to your advantage! Get on the forums and be a "noisy student." If you are hitting a wall trying to answer quiz or homework questions, hop on the forum and ask your fellow students. The Udacity student community contains a wealth of students ready to support you and share their knowledge. If you have a trick or a hint that helps you understand something, share it on the forum -- your fellow students will appreciate the tips!
Udacity's social network, via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn is also a great place to meet other students and ask questions. Check out our Twitter list of Udacity TAs.
Similarly, you can also reach out to see if there are any other Udacity students in your area and coordinate a meetup study group. Take a look at Meetup.com, one group, the pyladies host a Udacity study group every Wednesday in San Francisco, check it out!
5. Use supplementary materials: Each course includes supplementary materials that are meant to be used alongside the course videos. Specifically, the course notes, that are posted on the Udacity wiki, are a written articulation of the concepts, quizzes and programming problems from the videos. When the videos are not enough, try reading through the notes to see if something clicks. You can print the notes using the link at the top of each unit page on the wiki.
Also, check out our office hour videos, where student questions are addressed by both the instructor and the TA. Look out for new ways to interact with your instructors and TAs, since Udacity is always experimenting with new ways to teach. We also love getting feedback from our students about what works and what doesn't, so that we can continue to evolve our course platforms to make you successful!
What makes you a successful Udacity student? Leave your thoughts and comments below.