10 Tips for Being a Successful Online Student

Adapted from NHCC Student Tips for Online Learning Success

Here are a few tips that we continually hear from successful online students.  Like all great advice, most of these tips are common sense things we know that we should do.  Make the commitment to be successful and follow as many of these as possible.

  1. Accept that the first online class will feel overwhelming
    Let’s face it, the first time you try anything new it feels overwhelming.  Online courses are no different.  It takes time to learn how to maneuver through the system and to communicate with others online.  And each professor does things differently! Your confidence will build as you become more comfortable with how things work.  Think about ways to motivate yourself now, so when you feel overwhelmed you keep yourself grounded in your overall education goals and keep moving forward.
  2. Take full advantage of City Tech
    City Tech has a variety of online and on-campus resources available to students. Online tutoring provided by the Writing Center as well as office hours with your professor, the Accessibility Office and the resources on this site!
  3. Log on to your course and City Tech email frequently
    Make sure to check your course a minimum of 4-5 days a week. Once you get into the online discussions, you will want to see who has commented on your postings and read the instructor’s feedback. If you let too many days go by, you will get behind and find it very difficult to catch up. Make sure you check your City Tech email too. This is how your professor and the school keep in touch with you!!
  4. Participate…Participate…Participate
    Regular participation is very important to a quality online experience for everyone.  Your classmates have a wide variety of background experiences that will naturally come out during discussions and projects, and it’s a great way to network with future colleagues. Jump in and contribute! Note: you’re not required to turn your camera on in Composition courses, but we do suggest it– you don’t like looking out at a sea of blank squares and neither does your professor. It livens class up a lot to see your face. Also (and we honestly shouldn’t have to say this, but… we do… you need to devote yourself to the class 100% when you’re online. That is to say, don’t play video games, don’t ride the train, and don’t be at work. Treat your professor, your colleagues and most of all yourself with respect. Your education matters.
  5. Take the program and yourself seriously
    As part of City Tech’s accreditation, we are required to prove during strict audits that our classroom and online courses deliver the same content and rigor.  Many students take online courses, because they believe them to be easier or take less time.  These students either drop out or do poorly in the course.  Don’t let this happen to you!  Online courses affect academic records and financial aid.
  6. Budget your time, set schedules, and complete work on time
    Online courses are a convenient way to fit your education into an already busy life.  Make sure to block off regular time to work on your course and stick to that schedule.  For new online students it often takes a few weeks to get into a pattern, but you will find that setting a specific time period to work on your class will keep you on track.
  7. Make sure you have space where you can study
    Online courses are a convenient way to attend a course that you might otherwise not be able to attend on campus.  That being said, don’t discount the importance of having a place to concentrate and work on your course.  Coming to campus for a face-to-face course is a great way to get away from the disruptions of work or family for a few hours, and you will need to find a similar space to do the same when you work on your online course. You may live in a crowded house, but try to find the time and space that works best for you.
  8. Be polite and respectful
    Being polite and respectful is not only common sense, it is absolutely essential for a productive and supportive online environment. In a positive online environment, you will be able to express your thoughts and opinions openly and feel your contribution has been valued by both your classmates and your instructor.
  9. Speak up if you are having problems
    If you are having technical difficulties, or problems understanding something about the course, you MUST speak up otherwise there is no way that anyone will know that something is wrong.  Chances are that if you don’t understand something, others have the same question.
  10. Apply what you learn
    Apply everything you learn as you learn it, so it will be committed to long-term memory. Whenever possible, take the things you learn in your online course today and use them in your workplace tomorrow. Also, make connections between what you are learning and what you do or will do in your job.