Being Successful in online classes
It takes time to feel really comfortable in any class--regardless of location.
In the online classroom it can be easy to believe you are the only one who is confused or not sure about what to do. It is normal to feel a little confused during the first couple of weeks. If this happens to you, do not hesitate to ask questions. There will always be at least one other person who is wondering the same thing--and you will often find that your classmates are eager to help you to understand what they have already figured out.
The more effort you put into understanding how to do assignments, participate in discussions, and other expectations, the more quickly you will find yourself feeling at home in your online course.
Get a good start by following these tips:
- Take time to read the class syllabus thoroughly. You will also want to check your course email right away to see if your instructor has sent information to you there. Look at every item on the course home page. If you take the time to look at the information carefully, you should be able to see what you need to do to begin. If you don't understand something, ask your instructor for more detail.
- Explore every part of the course. Spend some time navigating your way through the class, clicking on all the buttons and text links. It is very much like going into a new grocery store the first time. You have to learn the "layout" to be able to quickly get to what you need to do your work for the week!
- Good time management is essential. You must set designated blocks of time to work on the class. It is very easy to spend either too little or too much time on the class. Do not just plan to "get around to it"...set several times per week to work on your course.
- Download or print out pages. Some students set up a three-ring notebook with tabs for each week to keep track of materials. You should ALWAYS create a specific location to save files/documents for the class. Create a folder on your computer or flash drive for your class work. This way, you will always know where to look for your assignments and notes.
- Look at your syllabus again. How will you earn points? When will you earn points? When are assignments due? What do you have going on in your personal life during these time periods? Set priorities. Pay close attention to what your instructor says about class participation. Try to work ahead as much as possible.
- Get to know your classmates. Look for people who have similar ideas and then look for people who may see things from an entirely different perspective. Take the opportunity to "build your classroom" through your posts and involvement. Everyone in the class shares the responsibility for interaction and engagement.
- ALWAYS ask for help if you do not understand something, whether it is a technical issue or something to do with an assignment or activity. Your instructor won't know you arere confused if you don't speak up.
The Online Learning and Services staff is here to help. If you attend classes on campus, you can also stop in the library to ask for basic demos and assistance with technical questions. Questions about the course material should always be directed to the instructor. Contact the eHelp Center for further guidance at 308-635-6071 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is Online Learning Right for Me? This survey will help you to determine if you have the computer and study skills that lead to online success.
Recommended Computer Skills
- ability to navigate through files and directories;
- ability to save a file to a specific drive and folder;
- ability to recognize file extensions and common file types (for example: .doc, .rtf, .pdf);
- ability to create, save, edit, and rename documents;
- ability to close, minimize, and quit a computer program;
Recommended Word Processing Skills
- ability to create and save a new file, or download, save, and open a file that is part of an assignment;
- ability to type and edit text on a screen or in a document;
- ability to change text format/style ;
- ability to set margins, spacing, and tabs;
- ability to check spelling, grammar, and word usage;
- ability to print a document;
- ability to save in alternate formats, for example .rtf or .txt;
Recommended Internet/Web Skills
- ability to connect to an Internet Service Provider;
- ability to visit a designated URL (web address);
- ability to use basic Internet browser functions;
- ability to search for resources on the web;
- ability to bookmark information on the web;
- ability to refresh the browser cache;