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. Sign in 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.
- 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.