How to be a successful online student

Here is a section from the skills required for online courses page. It is very important to consider these qualities before registering for an online course. 

Study Skills 

1. Budget your time.
2. Get organized.
3. Meet deadlines.
4. Keep in touch with your instructor and your classmates.
5. Be a good reader and enjoy reading. 
6. Be able to communicate clearly and concisely through writing. 
7. Be an independent learner. 
8. Be willing and able to commit 6 to 12 plus hours per week per course. 
9. Be open to sharing life, work and educational experiences as part of the learning process but exercise caution. 

10 bits of information on distance learning.

MORE TIPS ON BEING A SUCCESSFUL ONLINE STUDENT. 


1. Budget your time.
At a minimum, you will need to study between 6 and 9 hours EACH week in order to be successful in a 3 unit course. You can use this link to calculate how you spend your time in order to prioritize your educational goals: http://www.studygs.net/schedule

2. Get organized.
It is recommended that you don't procrastinate and don't get behind.
It's very easy to get behind in an online course because you don't actually see the instructor or your fellow students on a regular basis. No one can force you to login to Blackboard or to answer your email. If you're not careful, you can attend to the responsibilities that are right there in your life and postpone your responsibilities in cyberspace.

3. Meet deadlines.
Many students incorrectly believe that an online course is student-paced and they can choose when to hand in materials. Actually, most online courses are instructor-paced and there are real deadline which must be met if you are to pass the course. If you really don't have time to do the work, drop the course before you fail the course.

4. Keep in touch with your instructor and your classmates.
Most instructors provide a discussion board within Blackboard for you to post questions about the course requirements, the course content, or the technology. As soon as you begin to be confused or have a question, post it to the discussion board and ask for help from your fellow students. Most online students are glad to help and welcome a chance to get to know their classmates better.

5. Be a good reader and enjoy reading. 
Most lecture material in the online learning environment must be read. Students who are auditory learners (learn better by hearing) may want to consider taking face to face classes or downloading a free screen reader.

6. Be able to communicate clearly and concisely through writing. 
Since almost all communication is written, the ability to enter text in a reasonably speedy fashion is also of value.

7. Be an independent learner. 
Must be self-disciplined and self-motivated. This is an extremely important characteristic. Self-discipline and self-motivation play a pivotal role in whether most students will succeed or fail online courses.

8. Be willing and able to commit 6 to 12 plus hours per week per course. 
Many successful students say online learning is more time consuming than traditional learning.

9. Be open to sharing life, work and educational experiences as part of the learning process but exercise caution. 
Allan Hancock College does not restrict enrollment in distance learning classes any more than it does in on-site classes. The law requires that we admit all qualified students. We encourage you to exercise the same kind of caution in a distance learning class as you would if you were taking an on-site class. Do not share personal information about yourself; do not give a relative stranger or new acquaintance your home phone number, address, etc.

10 bits of information on distance learning.

  1. Online students sometimes can end up neglecting courses because of personal or professional circumstances unless they have compelling reasons for taking the course.
  2. Some students prefer the independence of an online course; others find it uncomfortable.
  3. Online courses give students greater freedom of scheduling, but they can require more self-discipline than on-campus classes.
  4. Some people learn best by physically interacting with other students and instructors, but online courses employ e-mail and online conferences for interaction.
  5. Online courses can require you to work from written direction without face-to-face instructions.
  6. Online courses require a working computer and a reliable internet connection.
  7. Online courses require at least as much time as on-campus courses.
  8. Online courses frequently use technology for teaching and communications.
  9. On-screen materials are the primary source of directions and information in online courses.
  10. Some online courses require some travel to complete proctored exams.

more tips on being a successful online student. 

Login to Blackboard often 
Like other forms of electronic communication, Blackboard records each time you login and the course areas you visit while online. Your instructors will know whether or not you are participating (just as they would in a face-to-face class), so make sure you participate to the fullest extent. A good rule of thumb is to login most every day Monday through Friday.

If you are having trouble logging into Blackboard, consider the following possible causes:
You probably will not have access to your courses until the first day of instruction. You will have access to log in to Blackboard before then, but your courses will not show up until the first day of instruction, unless your instructor opens the course early. Contact your instructor to find out their policy for making their courses available.

Most of the college's online courses use Blackboard as their online delivery software. If you are unable to login, here are some possible reasons:


It takes up to 6 hours to transfer your registration information from registration to the Blackboard server. So it could take 6 hours for you to be able to log in to Blackboard after you have registered.

Do your work "offline" in Word or a similar type of document.
This is the Internet equivalent of "The dog ate my homework." Instructors have little patience with hearing that you lost your work just as you were going to send it. Internet users know that service will often be disrupted with no warning. If you work offline and save your files to disk, you don't have to worry about being disconnected before you finish and submit your work.

ALWAYS save your files before you send them to your instructor.
Again, the electronic world is uncertain. Always save a copy of your files in case something gets lost in cyberspace. It's your responsibility to complete and turn in assignments; instructors cannot assign a grade based on work they've never seen.

Confused? Need help? Questions?
First, ask your classmates! Most instructors provide a discussion board dedicated specifically to questions about the technology and the class. Use the discussion board to ask your fellow students how to solve a technical problem...chances are, there are some "computer wizards" in your class who can find a solution to your problem.
Then, ask your instructor.  

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Nicholas Griffin

Nicholas Griffin
"I believe Hancock is the greatest community college out there for so many reasons. The counselors got me on track, and the instructors go out of their way to help. Because I am doing well in math and science classes for the first time in my life, I will be able to pursue a career as an environmental engineer. I will be able to find viable solutions to real world problems because of my time here."
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Last Modified Oct 22, 2014