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Distance Learning: Tips for Success - General

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Tips for Online Student Success - General Course Checklist

1. Schedule the same time each week to do your work.

  • Do this for each individual course
  • Try to keep it consistent
  • Build a routine that fits your lifestyle

2. Determine your routine.

  • For the semester: it should be whatever works best for you.
  • Online course assignments are often due at the same time each week, which will help you build a schedule for completing your assignments.

3. Find your peak productivity time.

  • Are you a morning person? Or do you work best in the late afternoon or evening?
  • You should do your online work at the time when you are the most productive, whatever time of day that is.
  • Don’t worry if takes some trial-and-error to figure this out, but once you have this information, use it to your advantage.

4. Keep track of your assignments; stay informed and connected.

  • Paying attention to course notifications is a key component for staying informed and keeping track of assignments.
  • You can also use a planner, calendar, and reminders on your phone to make sure that you know exactly when assignments are due for each course.

5. Be strategic about course readings.

  • Reading for online courses should be structured the same way as you would do them for a face-to-face course.
  • Make sure you have plenty of time to complete them before any discussions or assignments are due.
  • A helpful strategy for retaining information is to take notes as you read. Your notes will guide you later in your discussion posts and you can add any questions you may have had while doing the reading.

Download this checklist as a printable PDF

6. Stay in touch with your instructor.

  • You may not be in a face-to-face setting with the course instructor, but that does not mean they are less available. You can find your instructor's contact information in the course syllabus.
  • Locate this information ahead of time, so that when any question or problem arises, you can be in touch with your instructor quickly in whichever way they prefer.

7. Schedule ample time for online exams and quizzes.

  • When an online course requires that you take an online exam, it’s vital to set aside the proper amount of time to take the exam.
  • Given the uncertainty of technology, you should allow yourself plenty of time to log into MUOnline.
  • If you are allowed to use a textbook during the exam, be sure to familiarize yourself with the relevant content ahead of time, so that you know where to search for answers. This will also help you budget your time.

8. Ask for help.

  • When in doubt, check the syllabus first.
  • Next, make sure you are up-to-date with any course announcements and instructor emails.
  • Then, ask for guidance when you need clarification about anything that is unclear or that you can’t find an answer for.
  • The course may have a Help page as a reference, or you may just need to contact the instructor or Teaching Assistant (TA).

9. Check in with your online course every day.

  • It is your responsibility to check your e-mail and/or MUOnline account about announcements or matters related with your online course at least once per day.
  • This will vary from course to course, but there are a few things you can do to help stay as informed and connected as possible while taking your course in an online format:
    • Locate Notifications via Course Home Page and Notifications Dashboard
    • Check out the Course Calendar
    • Pay attention to Course Announcements
    • Subscribe to Discussions
    • Download the Blackboard Mobile App
    • Keep track of Grades

Special Thanks to WVU