How to Succeed in an Online Class

  • Register early.
  • Read as much of the course's textbook as possible before the class actually begins.
  • Log in to the Canvas course site several days before the class begins. That way, if you have any technical difficulties, you can work them out early and leave time to complete the first week's assignments.
  • Attend an On Campus Introduction to Canvas to get familiar with the software that will be used for your online course! Past experience reveals that students who miss the orientation may spend time playing “catch up.”
  • Set aside blocks of time daily and/or weekly to be “in class.” This includes time to read assignments, complete homework, participate in class discussions and take quizzes and/or exams.
  • One of the biggest mistakes online students make is just “going to class” when they have a few minutes here and there, or with too many distractions (such as other students or family members being in the same room, etc.). “Go to class” in an environment that is conducive to studying.
  • Plan on 12-15 hours of class work each week for each course.
  • Participate in class discussions, if your class includes online discussions.
  • Research shows that students who participate in class discussions do better than those who do not.
  • REGULARLY check the Announcements page, if your course has one.
  • Email or call the instructor when you need help.
  • Consider asking one or more students to be your study partner, or form a study group.
  • Save your assignments in one easily accessible place, even after you've submitted them to be graded.
  • Take responsibility for your own learning!
  • Just like a face-to-face (F2F) class, you are expected to spend time out of class doing homework, asking pertinent questions, and participating in class activities.
  • Avoid making the mistake of treating your online class as a correspondence course, just reading and taking quizzes. You must be “present” in online courses and demonstrate your participation.
  • Allow for extra time for technological difficulties. Instructors rarely accept these (or unfamiliarity with online instruction) as excuses for late or missing assignments.
  • You may experience some dissonance, if you are new to online learning. Sometimes it will be fun, other times frustrating, and sometimes both. This will improve as you become more proficient as an online student!