Lower Columbia College | Tips for Success

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Tips for Success in Online Courses

The online learning process is normally accelerated and requires commitment on the learner’s part. Staying up with the class and completing all work on time is vital. Once a learner gets behind, it is very difficult to catch up.

Communicate through writing

In the online classroom, nearly all communication is written, so it is critical that you feel comfortable expressing yourself in writing.

Be self-motivated and self-disciplined

With the freedom and flexibility of the online environment comes responsibility. The online process takes a real commitment and discipline to keep up with the flow of the process.

Speak up if problems arise

Many of the non-verbal communication clues that instructors use in determining whether students are having problems (confusion, frustration, boredom, absence, etc.) are not available in an online class. If you are experiencing difficulty on any level (either with the technology or with the course content), communicate this immediately. Otherwise the instructor will not know what is wrong. Be proactive. If you are not able to communicate with your instructor or if you perceive there to be a problem in the course, contact the eLearning Office or the Office of Instruction, just as you would in a class on campus.

Commit time and meet course requirements

Expect to spend 5-10 hours per week per course. Online learning is not easier than the traditional educational process. In fact, many students say it requires more time and commitment. The requirements for online learning are no less than than any other quality educational program. The successful student will view online learning as a convenient way to receive their education, not an easier way.

Have access to a computer and Internet connection

The classroom is accessed through the Web. The learner must have access to a computer with an Internet connection to take part in the classroom. See Technology and Skills Requirements for Online Classes.

Think before responding

Meaningful, quality input in a virtual classroom setting is an essential part of the learning process. Time is given in the process to allow for the careful consideration of responses. The testing and challenging of ideas is encouraged; you will not always be right, just be prepared to accept a challenge.

Value high quality learning outside the traditional classroom

If you feel that a traditional classroom is a prerequisite to learning, you may be more comfortable there than online. An online learner should expect to:

    • Participate in the virtual classroom 3-5 days a week
    • Respond to classmates' ideas and questions
    • Enjoy communicating in writing
    • Use technology properly
    • Complete assignments on time