Tips for successful online learning
Earning a degree through online learning is a rewarding experience for many, but for some it can be challenging. Before you begin, evaluate your educational goals and needs, your strengths and weaknesses as they pertain to learning, and any barriers to success. Our advisors can help you decide if online learning is right for you.
Not your traditional classroom experience
In an online environment, you are the person responsible for your success. We can provide you with a quality faculty, excellent advising and challenging courses. To be effective, you must take the initiative to participate in classes and related activities, meet deadlines and complete all coursework.
Technology and computer skills
You will need:
- A reasonably new computer with high speed internet access.
- Skill in operating a computer, navigating the internet, sending and receiving e-mail, uploading and downloading files, opening attachments, downloading applications, and other basic skills.
- Basic knowledge of creating spreadsheets, word processing documents and presentations.
Communication and collaboration skills
A “virtual” learning environment offers many opportunities to interact with instructors, fellow students, and online groups. Active participation in chat rooms, forums, threaded discussions, e-mail, teleconferencing, video conferencing, and other venues enriches the learning experience and provides a real opportunity to learn from others.
The most successful online students are those who are actively engaged in their learning. Ask questions of instructors and fellow students, do not be afraid to express your ideas and comments, and respect the ideas of others. The give and take in class will develop your personal connections, enhance your understanding of the course material, and improve your communication skills.
Types of instruction
There are three general types of online learning. Before you begin your course, be sure you understand how it will be delivered and any time and place constraints associated with the course.
- Asynchronous learning: Students may participate in class activities, and access and complete course work at any time during the defined length of a course.
- Synchronous learning: Students participate in classes and access course materials and presentations at defined times.
- Hybrid or blended: Combines different learning approaches and may include an on-campus component, and both synchronous and asynchronous learning.
Distance education is as rigorous and demanding as courses offered on campus. A general rule of thumb for learning is for every 3 credit-hour course you take, be prepared to work a minimum of 9-12 hours per week.
These steps will help you be successful as an online student:
- Read the syllabus and learn the course objectives, due dates and other requirements.
- Read and study all materials provided in the course including text books and supplemental material.
- Be an active participant in your class. If you have a question or need clarification about an assignment, contact your instructor.
- Time management is essential, especially in asynchronous classes. Establish a set period of time each day or week to devote to taking the course and to studying. A regular schedule can help you avoid procrastination and “cramming.”
Your success is dependent upon your approach to learning. By following these basic tips for success, you can thrive in an online learning environment.