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7 Tips for Success When Learning Online

by Danielle Smith, director of experiential learning & student engagement

Online and hybrid courses give you a lot of flexibility about when and where you do your coursework.  But, that also means the steps for success in an online/hybrid class are different from a traditional face-to-face section because you must create your own structure. Whether online/hybrid was your first choice or not, here are some tips to help you create a learning environment that leads to success in online courses.

1)      Have the Right Expectations
Treat this like a real course and not a blow-off! Get in the mindset of spending the amount of time on your online course per week that’s at least equivalent to the amount of face-to-face time you’d normally have. Online is a different environment, but the quantity of material you’re expected to cover is equivalent to a face-to-face class.

2)      Practice Good Time Management
Be dedicated and discipline yourself. Spending time on your online class means you’ll get real value out of it. Figure out how long you are spending on different types of tasks to help determine how to organize your time and accomplish assignments in advance, rather than procrastinating until the due date.

3)      Check Email & Folio Daily
Don’t miss out on important announcements or let small items fall through the cracks. Carefully read what is posted and shared. Do you understand all the component parts? Make immediate notes of any changes or updates shared by your instructor.   

4)      Establish a Good Workspace
Create a regular, dedicated study space and eliminate your known distractions to boost your productivity. Try using a website blocker to keep yourself from ending up on social media sites. Ensure you have access to power and can work comfortably. Do you know where your internet access is best? Are all your materials at hand? Can you navigate Folio? 

5)      Stay Organized
Print the syllabus, prep for each week and create a schedule “to-do” list. You won’t have the verbal and visual reminders of a face-to-face class, so keep your due dates handy. Set reminders on your phone/email calendar or use an old-fashioned planner. Think about how you accomplish your best work and purposefully block out time to get assignments done. 

6)      Be Proactive
Even though you’re learning online, it doesn’t mean you are on your own! Know your resources, and reach out to your instructors as soon as you have questions, concerns or problems. Don’t wait for deadlines to hit or pass before asking for help. And, when tech problems pop up, visit Information Technology Support to troubleshoot issues with Folio or your computer.

7)      Actively Participate
Communicate! Get to know your peers and instructors to build a network, add to discussions and hold yourself accountable. Are you Zooming in? Know your virtual classroom etiquette. Think of what others can see/hear in the background, and know how to mute your mic, ask questions or chime in.


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