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Online Student Success Center   

Online Study Skills & Strategies

Here are some essentials to keep in mind as you start your first online course:

  • Online learning is NOT easier than learning in the traditional classroom.

  • You will not SEE an instructor who reminds you to turn your homework in on time.

  • If you do not have basic computer literacy skills, you will find yourself learning those when you should be learning the content of the course.

  • Spend time before the class begins scoping out the "lay of the land." Know where each instructor puts assignments, lectures, readings etc. Each course may be slightly different.

  • Be very organized.  Create a binder and calendar for each online course.  Put all due dates on the calendar.  Don't be afraid to copy some of the materials.  We aren't yet a paperless society.

  • Currently most communication in an online course is text based.   You will be writing assignments and entries on the discussion board.  Discussion boards are where you get to know other students in the class, exchange ideas and frequently turn in assignments. 

  • Your writing may be read by other students as well as the professor.  It is often recommended that you create your documents in a word processing program to take advantage of spell check and save all your work.

  • Always proof what you write.  Sometimes it is best to read it out loud.

  • Polite communication is a must.  Humor is high risk.  Without hearing voice inflection and seeing facial expressions and body language it is easy to be misunderstood.

  • Be an active participant in all online discussions.  While they may serve the purpose of keeping you connected to others in the class, the prime purpose is to learn course materials.

  • Schedule your study sessions and make a specific goal for each study session.

  • Don't wait until the last minute to submit assignments.  There is no question that the electricity will go out, the Internet will be slower than ever before, or you will some other difficulty submitting your assignment.  The dog ate my homework is no longer an acceptable excuse for turning in assignments late.

  • Most students find that online courses take more time than traditional courses.  Just think, all that time you save by not driving to campus and sitting in class, should be devoted to studying.

  • Getting behind in an online course is the "kiss of death."  Don't do it.

  • Read and reread the course syllabus.  Don't miss a single paragraph - they are all important.

  • Keep in touch with your online instructor.  Many will assume that everything is fine unless they hear from you.

  • Look for ways to apply what you learn to the real world.


 Content Manager: Anita Crawley

Questions: Germantownn | Rockville | SilverSpring/Takoma Park
Last Updated: July 27, 2006