Tips For Success

Myth: Online learning is easier than campus courses.

Don't fall for it! Online learners must have excellent time management skills and be able to motivate themselves to keep up with their work. Here are some other tips to help you succeed in your online class.

Just like your face-to-face courses, each online course is unique and will require different expectations of you. What are the participation requirements? When are the due dates? When are the tests, assignments, projects, and activities due? How much textbook and outside reading is involved? How many assignments will I be completing each week? What is the best way to communicate with fellow students and the Instructor? Most teachers will provide all of this information right in the syllabus so print out the syllabus and post it next to your computers.

Developing a basic level of understanding regarding how a computer and the internet function can help you communicate with instructors and peers. This knowledge will also come in handy if you require any kind of technical assistance in the future.

You will be more confident in everything you do if you consistently check into class, participate in discussion, and work on assignments. It is hard to catch up in the online environment.

Once you find out what is expected of you, sit down and write out a weekly schedule for working on and completing assignments. Remember to include time for participating in class discussion by making posts to the class Discussion Board.

Communicating with your Instructor and classmates will make or break you in the online environment. Your Instructor should let you know the procedures for communication. Collaboration is a large component of most online courses and it is what makes online education such a powerhouse. Most online courses use the Discussion Board and e-mail as primary sources of communication. Talk with classmates, talk with your teacher, and be as descriptive as possible to convey your thoughts and emotions. Emoticons such as :-) (happy) or :-( (sad/upset) are good indicators to reveal emotion online.

This is especially important when a teacher gives directions to inform, update, or change an assignment. You do not have the luxury of raising your hand and getting an immediate response so pay attention to e-mails, Canvas announcements, and discussion board posts. Response time to questions is usually about 24 hours unless you set up a time to chat with your teacher online in real-time via Instant Messaging in Canvas.

Possibly one of the most important tips to remember is that an online student has to be patient. As an online student you lack the ability to visit an instructors office to ask a question. Online instructors are not usually available 24 hours a day, so be patient when waiting for responses from instructors. If it does not already exist in your course, one recommendation would be to request the instructor create a policy regarding the amount of response time he/she feels would be adequate for class participation.