Tricks- Getting the most out of an online course

online course

In our busy lives of the twenty-first century, hardly any of us get time to book a flight, and go to a learning center or university to take a classroom course. Thus, technology benefits again- all of us are now taking online courses, either as a hobby, or as a career.

It cannot be denied- in our hectic daily routines, those of us taking online courses really need a foolproof organized method, and tricks to help us take notes, and overall, retain the most important and applicable information from our course.

Try using the following tricks and methods net time you take a course to help you take organized notes, understand better, and in general, reduce the amount of time you usually need to absorb everything being taught.

  1. Bullet Points- Believe it or not, instead of complete sentences, taking notes using short points can slice your note-taking time in half. When jotting down a point, make sure you write down important words, connections, and meanings in short. Eliminate conjunctions, punctuation, articles, etc. if you feel like it. Your notes are for you to understand and remember, so if you can understand it, you’re good. Take notes how you like them best.
  2. TAKE NOTES- I can’t stress enough on the importance of this one. Laugh all you want, but notes are a part of life. Notes will help you read, understand, remember, and get more out of the course than you initially intended to.
  3. Have a place to write handy- Practically anything will do- a notepad and pencil, a piece of paper and a pen, or as I do, a blank google docs next to your course tab(s). By keeping a place to write handy, you will be more inclined to take notes and jot down important facts.
  4. Create a vocabulary list/dictionary as you go- Learning new words is always essential. Having a good and expansive vocabulary is not just the job of an author- it creates a good impression for all careers. A good vocabulary encourages eloquence in speech, and better writing and comprehension skills as well. In a google doc or a diary, jot down new words you came across in the course, and write the meanings next to them.
  5. Complete all prompts/assignments provided- Even if it is not a live course or you don’t have to submit your assignments, still do them for yourself. The prompts and/or assignments are all given for a reason- for practice, or for you to improve and get the most out of the course.
  6. Summarise- This might be asking too much, but bear with me if it is. When you are finished with your course, sit down with an open mind. Write down not a lengthy literary analysis of the course- but what you want to remember from this course. Consider answering some of these questions in your summary-
    1. What new things did you learn from this course that you absolutely did not know before? How will these facts help you?
    2. What did you like about the course? What did you dislike about it?
    3. If you had been teaching this course, would you have taught differently, set different assignments, or done anything else differently? Why do you think so?
    4. Do you think you, personally, benefited from this course? How?
    5. Was the course what you expected it to be, or were you surprised?


Next time you take a course, try employing these strategies and see if they help you. These are not strategies I found online, or was told by someone to use- these are strategies that I have tried and tested and found useful. Try them, and see how they work out for you.

I want to hear all your opinions. Share them below in the comments section!


Why do I want to break FREE?

Because I wanna live. Living holds a different meaning for me, than it does for those who are holding me back. And my idea of freedom is to do whatever you want, how much you want. And I want to write. And write and write and write as much as I want. But now, where I am, people have innumerable prejudices against writing. Here, in India, people think that maths and science and computers are all-important. They think that you can’t have a good income unless you get a job in computers or maths or science.

No. 2 is my school. They make everyone study everything. They’ll make you study lots of Social Science even if you hate it. We have two compulsory languages. First is English, which I love very much. But the other one is Hindi. Which I just don’t hate- I LOATHE. First of all, in the state in India, where I live, most people speak Hindi as their mother tongue. But I don’t. My mother tongue is Bengali. As a result, Hindi’s very difficult for me.

Even though it’s not the case with me, it is for many other Indians. The poor are not considered worthy of respect. They aren’t regarded as successful or capable. They’re underestimated. And I hate to say this, because India being my country, I ought to be proud of it. And I am. But I think India also has quite a lot of faults. Another point to improve upon is the ‘Varna’ system, or the Caste system, which is still very prominently followed in rural (and also urban) India. From ancient times, people have been literally DIVIDED. First come the ‘Brahmins’ or the learned priests or saints. They are highly esteemed and respected. Next are the ‘Kshatriyas’ or the warriors. They were the royalty, and they were held in a high position too. Then the ‘Vaishyas’ or the traders. merchants, and cattle keepers. They were not seen as very important. And last came the ‘Shudras’ or the laborers and servants. They were the ones discriminated against the most.

Here, in India, it’s thought that there is no great future for you, if you pursue arts like painting, sculpture, or writing. Here, they basically TRAIN a child from childhood to love maths, science, and computers. It’s thought that fine arts such as embroidery, or hobbies, such as writing, is a total waste of time. All important are the hateful EXAMS.

This is why I want to break free. I want to break out of the chains that are holding me back. And I think, many others, such as the poor, the discriminated, the underestimated, and the weak, want to live a free life, too.


Chained Back

What’s holding me back in life? Why can’t I be FREE? Why Can’t I concentrate on the things on which I need to? What’s stopping me?

1. My lack of confidence.

I think of many things, often looking at my friends. They laugh; saying whatever, whether it’s appropriate or not. They’re always cocksure of themselves. They don’t waver while taking a decision. They always KNOW that they’re right. Which is not at all the case with me. I stutter. I shake. I wobble. I’m AFRAID. I think, “What if I go wrong, and they all laugh at me?” I’m trying my best to improve upon this.

2. Too much of schoolwork.

I’m sure that I don’t write as much everyday as I should, in order to be a successful author. Too much schoolwork, besides from taking up my time, also weighs down on my mind, and I think you know that with an overtaxed brain, you can’t hope to produce good writing. But I don’t have a choice. Can’t skip the school life. I’ll have to make up for this lost time once I finish school.

3. Restlessness.

I feel like I just can’t stick at something enough. And this also means lack of focus as well as concentration. And if I don’t focus, then nothing worthwhile is gonna come out of my head- be it maths, or writing, or sketching.


This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 1


Blogging Habits

Have you noticed, the way that we’re getting caught up with technology nowadays? And too much. I’m sure that at least 95% of bloggers around the world spend at least 4-5 hours of their day, online, contributing to their blogs. It may make us bloggers happy to see our blog gaining a GOOD AUDIENCE, but what sort of IMPACT do you think this creates on our LIVES?

We can’t find enough time to be with our family and friends.  

Think back to  the time when you didn’t own a blog. What did you do then? You didn’t have any blog to update. I used to spend a lot of time TALKING about school, friends, and movies with my FAMILY. Even though I was shy, I used to take a lot more INTEREST in friends and SOCIAL matters. I’m still shy, and I daresay that if I hadn’t taken up blogging, then I would’ve gained more CONFIDENCE, as I would have increased my INTERACTION with people, rather than comment and interact ONLINE.

We aren’t able to take out time to pursue our primary hobbies.

Before I started blogging, I used to read a LOT. Oh, what books I read! Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl, Jane Austen, Enid Blyton, Louisa May Alcott, and the rest. Because I didn’t have anything much to do, and I did have to UTILIZE my time in something or the other. So I chose READING, and it greatly helped me today with WRITING.

It keeps our mind in a worried state.

Earlier, I used to be much HAPPIER and more lighthearted than I am now. Maybe this was because, unlike now, I did not keep worrying about what I should write my next POST about. It helped me mingle more with my classmates and friends, and be more ATTENTIVE and AWARE of my surroundings.

I’m not telling you to give up blogging entirely. Nor am I asking you to write very little, and risk losing your followers and likes. All I’m saying is that don’t overdo your blogging. Do it such that you are not forced to neglect everything in your daily life.


Music is VERY important to me. I am able to admit it openly. I wouldn’t be what I am today if it wasn’t for music and rhythm today. I wouldn’t be able to write. I’d forget what I’d learnt in a minute. I wouldn’t be able to sleep peacefully. Music is half of my life. Music, beats, dance, and songs have become such a prominent part of my life, or rather me, that if its not there, I feel kind of empty.

Even if not music, maybe you listen to instruments or play one yourself. I like listening to the soothing notes of a guitar, and Beethoven too. I like the beat of the base drums. I don’t like the sound of an electric guitar, but maybe someone else does. All I’m saying is that instruments too play an important part in complimenting your mood, and keeping you refreshed and happy throughout the day.

Even in the middle of tests, I do get a second or two to think that I would practically CRASH if it weren’t for music reducing my stress, and keeping my brain from bursting. Think how important music is to you too. I learn Kathak dance, and for one thing, any type of dance would be impossible without rhythm, music, and beats. I guess you have your favorite songs and soundtracks, maybe. Think of your reaction, if they were not available to you. Think how no music would affect your whole purposeful and busy LIFE.

Just think of the millions of people who have chosen music, dance, or singing as their career. Think how music keeps their lives running smooth. And if so many people weren’t fond of music today, then nobody would even listen to them, and their lives would be RUINED.

So stop for a moment how music affects you. Think how it gives you a sense of lightheartedness, and how your life would turn somersaults and be a series of ups and downs if it weren’t for music.


She hid her face from the whole new world,

She didn’t know this world, and she was scared,

Because this wasn’t the old familiar world she was accustomed to,

This was certainly all so horrid and new,

But in fact, sadly, this was true.

She did do much to accept the truth,

It wrung her heart to see her brothers and sisters suffer,

She cried upon seeing so much pain,

She accepted, that yes, she could see a change.

Both in manner and in looks,

The world had deteriorated, as in her eyes,

She could see nothing, her eyes were blurred by tears,

She could sense nothing, but many new fears.

At first she had not known what sorrow was,

She had not known that the world still lacked,

Humanity, and kindness too, but still,

Empty space still waiting to be fulfilled,

Wanting more, everybody,

Killed, and shed blood, and made changes,

As the world had always been, they did not let it remain,

They changed and wreaked havoc, time and again,

But still, nobody saw the . . . . . . . changes.


Just something I felt and wanted to share with you . . . . .

Writing is nothing without good narration. It is all about engaging your reader. You need to have something good to tell, which needs to make the reader cry, or roar with laughter, or even just smile. But you need to awaken emotion within your reader. Even the most simple incidents and moments in your story or article or essay or poem should thrill whoever’s reading it. When I read my favorite book, I :-

  • Hurry to the part which I like the most.
  • Never find it boring or repetitive.
  • Get excited.
  • Laugh or cry, or jump back.


And I’m sure you do the same. Ask yourself- “What is so special about this book that I like it so much?” And once you think you got the answer, try to integrate the same thing into your own writing. But I’m not asking you to copy ideas. No, if you love the storyline in your favorite book, I am not telling you to base your writing on the same idea. ‘Cause that’s absolute plagiarism. If you like the idea, and the story, or whatever, try to customize the idea before putting it into your writing. Not just little tweaks here and there. Try to make it better.

Writing is all about two reasons. One, to pen down your thoughts, which has been scientifically proven as a means of reducing stress. Second, to influence the world, or to raise your voice in the world. Writing generally helps unhappy or miserable people. Now listen carefully. This is the case with everyone, and also the case with you.

People are miserable or unhappy mainly because of two reasons. Either because they have a big burden on their heart, which weighs them down. This is basically a load for them, which leads them to be unhappy, worried, or anxious. I think every writer knows what a comfort writing can be. If you write down that worry of yours in just a few words, you’ll feel comparatively light-hearted afterwards.

The second reason of unhappiness is is seeing the world as a helpless, poor, and miserable place. Many people who are very shy and quiet, may actually be quite angry on seeing the state of the world. But he or she may not be strong enough to stand up against the world. But somehow, by some kind of unique magic, you never feel shy or introvert while writing. So if you want to speak up, the best way to do it is by writing. Be strong, and if you feel as if something is impossible, then try it by writing. Remember, writing can present you with a loud voice.



She looked in the water, like a clear mirror,

Brave; ’cause she had nothing to fear,

But then, she discovered faults in herself,

Restless, until,

One fine sunny day in April,

She looked once again at herself in the brook,

And swore that this would well be her last look,

But curiosity had its wonderful effect,

And made her look again and again,

To trace any signs of improvement,

It gradually relieved her pain,

And then she strove, decided to be perfect,

Worked upon every mistake using her intellect,

And then at last, what joy it gave her,

And then all at once, in a spur,

She saw that none could be perfect, but still,

It’s always better to work until,

Your soul looks and is as close to you as a twin,

You may not be perfect, but its possible to win.

Worth Living

Never looking back she plunged,

And even dragged me down with her,

But why, the reason wasn’t exactly crystal-clear,

And so, I sat for hours wondering.

What hatred so great had she against me,

Even though I had never thought of opposing her,

Still, she failed to love me.

Instead, she took an austere decision to end my life,

I couldn’t convince her, try as I might,

That I was truly worth living.


Lacking Confidence

I have a problem which I identified recently. I knew I had this problem for quite a long time, but somehow, I was never able to identify it till now. And anyone else who suffers from similar situations will sympathize with me for sure.

Our school has a system of roll numbers, like most schools. Whenever there’s a speaking test, we are called according to our roll numbers, and then we are tested. Let me tell you about yesterday, when we were evaluated in speaking French. I’ll narrate in the form of yesterday’s diary entry.

Dear Diary,

Today we had our French speaking test of ten marks. I am roll number five. The first three roll numbers went smoothly, one of them spoke excellent french, and the other two didn’t. Then came roll number four, who is just before me. Then a curious thing started happening to me.  It happens to me every  time that I speak or perform in front of an audience. And it happened then, as I was waiting for my test. It started with my knees shaking and becoming unsteady. The words that the teacher spoke next, were like a dagger to me. “Aliyah, its your turn now. Come and read out a paragraph from your textbook.” And that moment, I was really like . . . . . “Oh my god, how will I speak now? What if I make a mistake?” And then it became worse. As I stood up from my chair, my hands stuck to my sides, and I took wobbly steps towards the front of the class. I asked the teacher if I could read out just to her, and not to the whole class. I was afraid of being distracted by the faces who were all staring intently at me. I was very conscious of that fact. But the teacher didn’t allow me. “You have to read out to the whole class, so that they are able to hear you clearly,” she said. And that was it. As I picked up my textbook, and turned the pages, I was even more alarmed to find my hands trembling wildly. I’m sure that I spoke in a very inaudible voice. During my Social Science presentation, I spoke well, as the teacher said, but I wasn’t assertive and persuasive enough. And I could hardly be heard, my teacher told me. Then its my habit, to always walk with my hands stuck to my sides. I’m too shy by nature, and very antisocial, and timid and unconfident too. I don’t talk to people much, and I’m always scared. Also, I’m worried that this creates a negative impression on the people I interact with.

I hope I can overcome this problem soon, before its too late. I know that I, and I alone, can solve this problem of mine.