Collage of images including a female student working on a laptop, a set of hands using a computer tablet, and distance learning icons overlaying them.

What to Expect

Learning through an online class requires different skills than learning in a face-to-face environment. It's important to know what you're getting into and to understand the kind of commitment that's necessary for success in online learning. 

  1. Make sure you are adequality prepared for your online course.
    Along with the basic technology requirements, there may be additional tools such as other web-based materials, textbooks, application software, etc. you may need for your course. Make sure you can access all that is required to participate in the course. 

  2. Adhere to all Net-Etiquette Guidelines
    As a student, you must adhere to all net-etiquette guidelines when enrolled in an online course. You can use this guide to view what is expected of you.

  3. Effective Time-Management Skills
    To succeed as an online learner, you must be able to manage your time effectively. Although online courses allow flexibility in schedule, you must make sure that appropriate time is allocated weekly to keep up with your class and meet all deadlines without the constant reminder from your instructor. Typically, students should plan on spending 3-5 hours per credit each week in study. 

  4. Basic technical skills
    You must have basic computer skills such as word processing and some experience using the Internet. Open SUNY recommends signing onto an Internet Service Provider a few months before the semester begins to give you time to practice using the Internet. Depending on your online course, instructors may use a wide variety of technology to conduct the course, and as an online student, you also need to be open to the idea of learning how to use new technology. 

  5. Hold yourself accountable
    Hold yourself accountable to keep up with your course and meet all necessary deadlines. Do not wait till the last minute to submit assignments and study for exams. Motivate yourself stay on top of your course work. Allocate time weekly to study for your course. Log into your Blackboard once a day to check for any updates. You are responsible for your progression in the course. Do not fall behind! 

  6. Persistence

    An important part of succeeding in an online course is persistence. As an online student, you need to be head strong in tackling any issue that you may come across and persist through challenges. Seek help when needed and keep trying. As far as course work, it is important that you keep yourself motivated to complete all your work. Maintain a manageable study schedule, good learning environment and keep pushing forward!

  7. Effective Communication Skills

    As an online student, you need to be able to effectively communicate with your instructor to seek any help or guidance you may need. In an online environment, instructors cannot pick up on non-verbal cues, such as a look of confusion on a student’s face. Take advantage of the tools that are available to you, which may include but are not limited to e-mail, chat groups, virtual office hours, calling, discussion groups, text message, and so on. Another rule of thumb is to always follow is to make sure that your communications are clear, concise and with respect and courtesy.

  8. Good Study Environment

    To achieve academic success in online class, a dedicated learning environment to study is imperative. This space should be somewhere you can focus and do your work. In addition, to a dedicated space to work, a good study environment should be free of distractions such as your phone, television, games, etc. Get all your study materials together with wifi and get working to get those A’s!

  9. Actively Participate

    Participation is a key component in an online course. Engage with your fellow classmates and instructor through outlets such as discussion boards. Not only does participation fosters a thriving online community, it will also understand course material better.

  10. Have a realistic understanding of your online course.

    Online courses allow students the flexibility and convenience to be able to work whenever and wherever. This does not mean that the course will be easier than a tradition face-to-face course. Online learning allows you to be an independent learner but with that comes accountability, internal motivation, effective time management skills, and maturity. This learning style may not be for every student but understanding what is best for you will help you succeed. You can get a good idea of whether you are ready to take an online class by taking a self-assessment. For additional information, refer to Open SUNY.

Last Modified 2/25/22