Tips for Online Student Success
Thinking about taking an online course? We compiled some helpful tips that will assist you when you’re taking a distance education class at Cincinnati State.
- Determine what time of day is best for you. Do you work better in the morning, or are you more productive when burning the midnight oil? Schedule a regular time that works for you and stick to it.
- Reserve a designated amount of time to work on your course. It is important that you stay committed to this time.
- Check at least 4 times a week. Most online courses are now accessible via smart phones or tablets as well as your computer. Check in often for updates or announcements from your instructor.
- Look ahead in your course. Knowing what is due in five weeks, and not just the following week, can help you maximize your time and preparedness. If the course materials aren’t open that far in advance, check your course syllabus and course schedule to see what is coming up.
- Choose a workspace that is comfortable where you can be fully focused on your course. Do you work better in your home office, local library, or do you prefer to work in a coffee shop with Internet access?
- Work on your course in an environment that is free of distractions. You’ll find that your learning retention will be vastly better when you are not constantly sidetracked or distracted.
- Avoid disruptions like social networking or TV noise. Minimizing interruptions during your studying time will increase your efficiency and learning.
- Take advantage of any and all virtual meetings. If your instructor sets up a virtual session, take advantage of it - particularly early in the semester. Although it may not be required, it gives you an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about your instructor. Even just “lurking” in a virtual session can provide helpful information.
- Introduce yourself to the instructor. Your instructor may never get to know you unless you take the initiative. Most courses include an area to introduce yourself to the class.
- Don’t hesitate to ask your instructor questions. You may not be able to work with your professor face-to-face, but it’s still vital to build a relationship and ask for help when necessary.
- Don’t expect the instructor to be available at all hours of the day. Sending an e-mail about an exam minutes before it is due is not a successful strategy. Don’t put off work until the very end.
- Get to know the other students. Many online course have a “hang-out” for students. This can be a good place to interact with other students on any topic of interest. If your course requires group work, reach out immediately to the other members of your group. This can help establish trust and credibility in the group.
- Take advantage of online chat rooms and message boards. The utilities are great resources for making connections and getting instant feedback from your peers.
- Participate. Sometimes it's difficult to jump in and participate in online class discussions. But, don't hesitate - you'll end up with a better grasp of the material.
Gatlin, Stephen. President and CEO of Gatlin Education Services
College of Southern Maryland