- K-State home
- K-State Online
- Support Services
- Academic Success
Tips for Success
If this is your first experience with online learning, you may be wondering what to expect. Below is a collection of tips from our advisors on how to succeed in the online learning environment.
- Create a distraction-free environment where you can study. Having a dedicated space where you can focus will help establish a routine and help with productivity. Try to minimize distractions in this space such as cell phones, social media and the internet.
- Keep a schedule of all due dates for assignments, quizzes, discussions, and projects for each course. Read the syllabus and course calendar and plan ahead. Understand grading policies and how exams will be conducted. Plan regular study times just like you’d sit in a face-to-face class.
- Ensure you have all the required materials prior to the start of class. Do you need a proctor or subscription to other services?
- Be present. Login to the course every day. Engage with classmates and the instructor. Ensure you check discussion boards frequently. Not engaging in the course for a few days may lead to the feeling of being behind and needing to catch up.
- Don’t believe online courses are easier or take less time. Many online courses require discussion boards where you discuss themes or topics regularly.
- Although you may not be sitting in a lecture three hours a day, you will be responsible for reading, watching and understanding material you may normally “hear” during a lecture. Students must be self-directed and motivated without having a “normal class time.” If there are opportunities for “synchronous” learning, try to attend.
- Be willing and able to commit 4-15 hours per week, per course. This is no different than an in-person course.
- Consider communication tone in an online environment, both in emails and on discussion boards. Avoid sarcasm or other language that can be misinterpreted.
- Keep in contact with the professor. Utilize virtual office hours, offers to meet one-on-one, and email or arrange a call/virtual meeting if you need help.
- Understand communication expectations. Familiarize yourself with netiquette, and be able to express yourself effectively in writing via discussion boards and assignments. Online class communications should be professional, polite and respectful. Know how to access your K-State email, Canvas announcements and integrate the two so you don’t miss any messages or emails.
- Check emails and other communication regularly. You are responsible for being informed. The university and Canvas have multiple outlets for informing students.
- Ask questions.
Learning Styles and Study Skills
- Recognize your learning style. Each instructor has different teaching styles in the online classroom which often means adapting your study style to understand. Are you an auditory learner, but there are no live or recorded lectures? Find ways to adapt that suits how you learn best. Here are some ways to do this, including an assessment on learning styles you can take for free online.
- Be a motivated and independent learner. Develop self-discipline.
- Consider your high-energy time of the day and if possible, try to engage in your online class during this time.
- Be familiar with the K-State Honor Code, academic integrity and academic honesty.
- Have the technical tools you need, including a reliable computer, access to the internet and a plan for finding technical help if needed. The ability to access reliable internet is necessary. These are as important in an online course as having the textbook.
- Take time to familiarize yourself with Canvas, K-State’s learning management system and the central hub for your online academic experience. There are numerous tutorials explaining how to best utilize Canvas.
- Online courses have the same policies, deadlines and grading as on-campus classes. It is your responsibility to be aware of these.
- Ask for help early if you need it. Know the resources available to you. You will utilize the same student success resources you would as an on-campus student. Almost all the K-State student success resources available in-person are available to online learners. This includes but is not limited to the Writing Center, tutoring, academic coaches, library resources and personal assistance, career counseling, student life, etc.
Online Technology Terminology
As you learn online, you may encounter new technology-related terms or systems. This list of distance learning terminology may help identify some of the requirements or features in your courses.
A class offered on a shorter timeframe than the standard 16-week term, covering the same amount of course content in a more condensed, accelerated amount of time.
Ensuring that online course content and distance learning technologies are available and can be accessed by students with disabilities and students located throughout the world. View K-State's accessibility policy.
Changing the student's course schedule by adding and/or dropping a course.
An online communication tool that allows you to deliver content using live video, audio and change, and view PowerPoint presentations.
A department or college-based faculty member who helps a student achieve her or his educational goals by providing guidance on courses, program requirements, prerequisites, programs of study, and policies and procedures.
A web conferencing tool to create a virtual classroom. This will only be used occasionally at K-State and your professor will have more instructions on how to use it.
A course format that combines online or computer-mediated course delivery with an on-site or face-to-face component.
A website with published chronological entries from an individual or multiple contributors. “Blog” is word blend of “web log” and typically includes informational or opinion entries and posts for comment or discussion.
Web search platforms including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and more. If a browser does not let you perform a desired function, try a different browser or view K-State's browser recommendations.
Real-time online discussion that can be initiated as needed or at a scheduled time for participants. Your class instructor will contact you with specific dates and times for participating in a scheduled chat.
Discussion (message board)
A web-based bulletin board where messages can be posted and read at any time. You will see the message board link located within your course in K-State Online.
Process of transferring data or files from an online location to your computer.
Dropbox is a file hosting service offering cloud storage, file synchronization and client software. Files placed in a Dropbox folder are accessible through a website and mobile phone applications. K-State's learning management system, K-State Online, may include a Dropbox feature in assignments. Your professor may use Dropbox or Box within your course.
An electronic identifier that is required to log in to many university systems. You are required to register for an eID.
Microsoft 365, K-State's email and calendaring system for students, faculty and staff. You may forward K-State emails to open systems like Google, Yahoo and Hotmail, but you should log in and review webmail regularly to ensure that you are not missing any information.
A course format where students must attend in person. Course descriptions will identify whether a class has any face-to-face requirements.
A classroom model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects or discussions.
A free web-based technology supported by Google that allows collaborative writing and editing of documents online and in real time with other users.
Instructor-directed independent learning courses that use technology to support regular and substantive interaction between students and the instructor. They may include reading books and articles, viewing online lectures, writing assignments, completing projects, and taking exams, as specified by the instructor. Guided study courses have set start and end dates and course syllabi provide dates, for completion of assignments, projects and exams.
A significant amount of the course learning activity has been moved online, making it possible to reduce the amount of time spent in the classroom. Traditional face-to-face instruction is reduced but not eliminated. The "hybrid" course model is also referred to as "blended."
Short courses offered between standard university semesters each January, May and August. View classes.
K-State's student information system used to enroll in classes, view grades, order transcripts, pay tuition and more.
Connect is K-State's interactive dashboard of commonly-used K-State services. It allows K-Staters to quickly view highlighted details of the services available to them, which could include their webmail, calendar, eProfile, K-State Online and more.
The university's learning management system that is used to deliver your online course content (e.g., video lectures, syllabus, resource materials, etc.). K-State Online includes links to many online learning technologies you may need to access during your course.
Learning Management System (LMS)
A software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of electronic educational technology courses.
Proper etiquette that should be used when communicating through the internet, including by email, chat, message boards and other modes of online communication. View more about Netiquette.
Designation that all or part of a class is taught through a computer-mediated format on the Web. A computer that meets minimum requirements and has access to the internet is usually required for online learning.
A person who monitors students during an examination. Learn more about proctored exams.
An XML-based format used to distribute web content. RSS feeds (known as Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) allow users to subscribe to information published from sources with frequently updated entries or content.
Online communication that occurs in real time using text chat, VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and video features. You will see a Zoom link located within your course in K-State Online. The audio portion requires a microphone and speakers to participate, and the video portion requires a webcam. Some faculty may also choose to use Skype, a free web-based technology used to send instant messages and video chat.
Online applications with user-generated content for the purpose of social communication, information sharing, networking and interaction. Social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and many more.
Using high-speed Internet capabilities to gain access to video lectures and other course resources. If you are experiencing problems with streaming video freezing and buffering, run the video connectivity test.
Communication by phone for course-related discussions, usually involving multiple people and phone lines. If your instructor has chosen to use teleconferences, you will receive dates, a call-in number and a PIN code to enter.
A function in Microsoft Word that allows you to show edits and comments made to the document.
Process of transferring data or files from a computer to an online location.
Wildcat ID, your student identification number. This is a nine-digit number that always begins with an “8.”
Website with content that is collaboratively developed and edited by a community of users.
Contact your course instructor or the Student and Faculty Services office if you need additional information.