This question popped up in Quora recently: https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-motivate-online-students (Links to an external site.)
How do I motivate online students?
I think this question works both ways. Obviously, this question was asked from the perspective of an instructor. An online student might just as easily ask how to stay motivated.
For both student and instructor, the amount taken away from an online class is directly proportional to the amount of effort and time one puts into it. The advice in the answer is directed at both professors and students. Some of the points include:
Overall, the advice seems pretty obvious, but I find that I could take some of it myself. I must admit that the amount of time I have available to concentrate on school varies from week to week.
These qualities make me wonder about the extent to which a “social” component of a class determines the level of motivation. In other words, interacting with others keeps everyone on task.
Personally, I am much more motivated when I interact with others. Education is definitely not a solitary, “lock yourself in an ivory tower”-type of endeavor.