Becoming Online Class Ready


We generally don’t recommend that students take online classes. Some students want to take online classes because their work schedule is too hectic or they don’t want to miss out on classes while maternity leave. Whatever the reason, here are our best suggestions for succeeding at an online class:

  • Make sure your computer skills are up to snuff.
    • You will need a computer. Don’t count on always being able to go to the library to do your course work.
    • As soon as the course materials are available, spend time online learning to navigate the site. Go on Blackboard, if that’s what the class uses (most classes do), and post an introduction. Visit the syllabus page and look at various resources.
    • Some classes use Excel or PowerPoint. Make sure you have them installed on your computer. If you’re not familiar with these programs, play around with them.
  • Start the class right.
  • Keep important documents in a separate folder. Print out the syllabus and assignments.
    • Make a folder on your computer for all of your course-related work such as papers and drafts of postings.
      • Write all important due dates on your day planner or calendar. If you use an online calendar or an app on your phone, add all your due dates to your calendar so they’ll pop up as reminders.
    • Tip: If you have a posting that’s due daily or weekly by a certain time, set a reoccurring event on your calendar or an alarm on your phone.
    • Organize your environment. Make sure you have a good chair and proper lighting, and that there is room enough at your computer station for any books, notebooks or papers you might need.
  • Pick a regular time to study
    • Unlike with classroom courses, there is no set class time and you have to choose it yourself.
    • Find a REGULAR time that is convenient to you, when you are alert and when you know you will have at least 45 uninterrupted minutes.
    • Pretend it’s class time and you HAVE to attend.
  • Pay attention to deadlines
    • Keep due dates handy to keep on track. Make sure you meet all deadlines – if the professor says, “post by midnight on Monday,” you CANNOT squeeze by at 12:17. Quizzes and exams shut down after the deadline.
  • Make note of your instructor’s office hours
    • If you find that you need help in an online class, you will have to email your professor and wait for a response.
    • Note: in many online classes, assignments are due on Sunday nights, but that does not mean your instructor is available at that time. Don’t wait until the last minute and expect to be able to get a hold of your instructor.
    • Ask questions about course content and assignments as soon as you have them, because there may be a delay in getting an answer.
  •  Stick to it.
    • Online classes are YOUR responsibility. Nobody is going to make you log on, nobody is going to make you post, and nobody is going to miss you if you don’t participate.  If you want to do well in an online class, you HAVE to log on and you HAVE to participate.


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