Below you will find a list of qualities that an effective online student must possess. Within each characteristic, you will find tips and tools that help students perform better in online or hybrid courses. You can also download and print the Online Student Orientation guide.
Tips for Student Success
Performing well in any college course requires dedication and discipline to meet the requirements and due dates. Online courses require more focus and discipline. They usually have very similar academic rigor to their face-to-face counterparts. Also, many online courses take a full-semester’s worth of content and offer it in half of that time, doubling the pace of the course. Approach your online course with this in mind so that you are not caught off-guard and fall behind.
Students who succeed are those who are willing to tolerate technical problems, seek help when needed, work hard everyday on every class, and prevail through challenges. Online learning requires independence, internal motivation, responsibility, and a certain level of maturity.
Before you start your online course, you should make sure that you have all the necessary information and course materials and that your computer meets the minimum requirements. Preparedness is a continuous process. Here are some tips to help you stay prepared throughout the course:
- Check your syllabus. Deadlines can be deadly in an online course!
- Purchase your textbooks 1-2 weeks before class begins.
- Check your Ferris Email several times a day.
- Plan how much time you will spend on your class each day.
- Create a weekly and a daily schedule list or plan.
- Log into Blackboard several times a day.
- Take notes as you study.
- Work collaboratively with classmates.
Though knowing what to expect and being prepared are important, you must be committed to success. Dedication requires self-control and perseverance. Successful students are serious and intentional about focusing on coursework. Here are some ways you can dedicate yourself to being successful in your online course:
- Find a good, quiet study environment with a chair, desk, and good lighting. Avoid studying in bed or on the couch if it makes you drowsy.
- Avoid distractions, such as television, radio, family, or roommates.
- Avoid games by un-installing computer games and putting away gaming devices.
- Turn off and put away mobile devices. Let friends and family know you are off-line during dedicated study hours.
- Honor the time commitments you make toward school work.
- Be persistent.
Interactions with your peers and your instructor are critical to you having a rich, engaging experience in the course. A successful student must be comfortable in taking initiative to talk with the instructor or classmates. Nearly all communication is written, so it is critical that you feel comfortable in expressing yourself in writing. Written communication may be delivered by Email, discussion boards, journals, assignments, and even text messaging. Sometimes communication is more effective by phone or web conference. Here are some tips that will ensure effective communication:
- Seek help when needed. Many of the nonverbal communication methods that instructors use in determining when students are having problems (confusion, frustration, boredom, absence, etc.) are not possible in the online class. If you are experiencing difficulty at any level (either with technology or with the course content), you must communicate this immediately. Otherwise the instructor will never know what is wrong.
- Write in full, grammatically correct sentences with a respectful tone.
For any course, especially online and hybrid coursework, getting and staying organized is key to your success. Do you remember getting ready for middle school? You would choose folders and notebooks for each separate class and organize them in a big 3-ring binder. Spend time before your classes to organize your "digital 3-ring binder" with places to keep your course documents, assignments, and notes. You will also want to save copies of everything you submit just in case there is a technology glitch, even your discussion posts. Because online classes usually have lectures and videos, you will want to create a good method for taking notes and keep them organized in your "digital 3-ring binder" as well.
Whether you take online, hybrid, or face-to-face classes, there are still only 24-hours in a day and seven days in a week. Online coursework gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of when you do your studying, but that also means you have to plan your time well on your own for successful time management. You can use tools like your smartphone calendar, reminders, lists, and other tools help you organize and balance your time.
A successful student is able to read difficult text and reflect upon those readings individually.
To participate in your online course you must also have:
Moderate experience using a computer. You will need to know how to enter and retrieve course information on the computer and be able to receive and submit assignments and other materials. Other useful skills include being familiar with a word processing program and the ability to send and receive email including the use of attachments.
A good understanding of the web and its use, enough so that you are able to navigate from one site to another; to find things on the web, and to do searches if it is part of an assignment.
Ally creates alternative files that are easier to use by all students. Alternative files include readable text for screen readers, pictures with captions, and easy-to-navigate content. Ally creates multiple alternatives from the original documents in your course. You can download these alternative formats anywhere that files are used.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us by phone at (231) 591-2802 or by Email at [email protected].