Tips for Success

Tips for Success

Learning in online environments is different than face-to-face learning. Much of the work online will be done in discussion forums. Do you learn well by reading others’ ideas? Are you able to express yourself with your writing? If you haven’t experienced this type of learning, consider these tips help you succeed. You may also wish to take this short assessment (created by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) to determine if online learning is right for you.

Technology

To take online or hybrid class, you don’t have to be a computer whiz but you should know the basics of getting around online, using email, and creating documents in Word. And, more importantly, you should know when to call for help. If you’ve struggled with something for more than 15 minutes, it’s time to make a call.

If the only computer you have is your work computer or a public computer at places such as the library, this might present some challenges. In order to install all necessary browser plugins and software, you will need administrative rights to your computer. Some work or public computers do not allow for this; most personal computers do.

Additionally, if you only have an iPad or other tablet device, online work may also be difficult. While these devices are great for many things, you may find that you need something a bit more robust to complete your assignments and do all of your work. Software such as the Microsoft Office Suite cannot be installed on most tablets and some course material may not be viewable from a tablet.

If your internet comes from the coffee shop down the street, this too might present some challenges. It’s advised that you secure a quiet place to study and a busy coffee shop might not cut it. In addition, most coffee shops regulate how much time customers spend using their internet.

Time Management and Scheduling

Enjoy the benefits of taking a hybrid or online course. Typically, these types of courses allow for more flexibility in your schedule. You will also have access to your course materials any where, any time. And, you may find that many courses emphasize self-directed learning with specific practical applications to your life.

Knowing the rhythm of the course is one key component to having a successful experience. If it’s a hybrid course, when do you meet face-to-face and when do you meet online? What are the requirements for each type of session? Does the course follow the standard weekly pattern? If you take a hybrid course, you will be expected to come to campus. When exactly you come to campus is determined on a course-by-course basis. Fully online courses have no campus requirements or expectations.

Working online brings distractions; know how to manage them and allow for sufficient time to complete your work. Taking a course in an online environment does not mean you will have less work to do. The flexibility these types of environments offer is a great benefit. However, the time that you do not spend in class will be accounted for in other ways through reading assignments, discussion board postings, quizzes, etc. Below is a chart that can help you gauge how much time you can expect to spend in an online course:

Course Credits and Corresponding Weekly Work

  • 2 Credit course requires 300 min = 5 hrs.
  • 3 Credit course requires 450 min = 7.5 hrs.
  • 4 Credit course requires 600 min = 10 hrs.

Motivation/Dedication

The flexibility of an online course means that you will be accountable for your own learning. It’s important that you understand your role in constructing your own learning and understand the faculty’s role in helping you with that. Are you able to stay focused and on track with the course work? It’s important to check in regularly at least twice a week. Your instructor may require more.

Set aside a specific time and a specific place each day to study or participate in online activities. Having this kind of structure can help avoid or eliminate distractions.

Cost

There is no additional fee for taking hybrid or online courses.