Tips for Online Success - Students
For those with limited or no experience with online classes, here are a couple tips to make sure you are successful and have the best experience!
Access and Familiarity with Technology
- Check the student bulletin to make sure your system meets the technical requirements for the class.
- Be comfortable with your system, the internet, and basic digital literacy skills.
- Explore the platform you will be learning on before the course starts. Play with the features and understand all the options. If you have any technical troubles, get them solved right away.
- Know where to go for technical help for both software and hardware issues.
- Back up your work. Explore cloud syncing options and save your work often. For long discussion board posts, type response in a document editor first, save often, and then copy and paste into the discussion board. This way you won’t loose a long response if your browser crashes or internet cuts out.
- Shutdown and restart your system frequently. This ensures you will always be seeing the most recent version of websites and webpages.
- Bookmark your favorite sites and most frequently visited pages to avoid having to keep dozens of tabs open at all times.
Exercise Good Time Management Skills
- Carefully read the course syllabus and highlight due dates.
- Create schedules and to-do lists for the term and each week.
- Allow more time than necessary to complete tasks. If you finish early, seek out peer reviews.
- Be careful not to fall behind. Keep up with the reading and turn in all assignments on time.
- Experiment will finding the best time to study. You may have more focus and less distractions first thing in the morning versus after dinner.
- Take advantage of downtimes such waiting rooms, commutes where you’re not driving, and breaks at work to squeeze in reading. Print pages out to take with you if the internet is not available.
Maintain a Clean and Calm Workspace
- Even with an online course, you still need somewhere to study. Make sure you have a distraction free and quiet place to work.
- Set aside a specific place and time just for school.
- Beware of games, surfing and your cell phone. These can be major distractions!
Participate and Engage
- Be sure to participate in all available discussions to get the most out of your class.
- If there are discussion boards, visit and participate multiple times a week.
- Remember your motivations for taking this course and your overarching goals.
- Connect, collaborate and communicate with your fellow students to build a sense of class community, increase comfort with hard subjects, and learn from each other.
- If you have a question about the material, be sure your classmates do too. Post, email or state your question to the instructor for yourself and your classmates.
- If you are struggling for any reason, personally or academically, be sure to speak to your instructor and advisor. Be proactive in identifying and asking for help.
- Engage the support of friends and family to help limit your distractions and increase motivation. Let them know ahead of time what your goals are, and what you may need from them during the term.
- Use appropriate style and language for school. When communicating with teachers and other staff, you should write in full, grammatically correct sentences and with a respectful tone.
- Review lecture materials and create quiz questions over main points. Use the quiz on yourself or classmates the next day or later in the week. Combine all your quizzes into a self-made practice test before exams.
- Take notes, underline, or speak out loud while reading and reviewing material.
- Draw concept maps and diagrams to connect ideas, events, and terms to help visualize the information.
- Do your own research. If you’re not understanding or connecting with part of the material, look online to find it presented a different way or explained further. Just remember that you will be tested on what is presented in your class.