Succeeding at Online Classes

Contributed by:
Jonathan James
It covers the various aspects of online classes.
The key highlights are:
- how online classes are different
- time management
- learning tips for online classes
1. Succeeding at
Online Classes
Laura S. Heidel, Ph.D.
N109 Cougar Village I
2. Succeeding at Online
Classes- Outline
 Take quiz
 How are online classes different?
 How to choose an online instructor
 Time management—adding structure to the
 Class participation-add accountability
 Communication with professor
 Knowledge of technology
 Online test taking
3. Take online student quiz
 I am a self-motivated and self-disciplined individual
 I have good time management skills that allow me to schedule specific times
throughout the week to work on my online courses
 I can prepare adequately for exams
 I can effectively communicate any questions or concerns to my instructor
 I am comfortable expressing myself in writing using grammatically correct, written
statements and/or essays
 I am not a procrastinator. I like to get things done today and not tomorrow
 I will not miss the face-to-face interaction with my instructor and classmates
 I do not give up easily, even when confronted with obstacles
 I am comfortable spending 5 plus hours each week on a course to review course
lectures/videos, complete course assignments, participate in chats and threaded
discussions, etc.
 I agree that online courses can be more challenging than face-to-face classes
 I consider myself an average to above-average reader
 I have basic computer skills and can use word processing software, download
software, install software, use a web browser, etc.
4. Quiz, cont.
 I have access to a computer that is connected to the internet and have a backup
plan if something happens to my computer
 I am comfortable in a virtual environment- email, sending attachments, threaded
discussions, chat rooms, etc.
 From Fairmont State University, Characteristics of a successful online student
5. How are online classes
 1. Time management is key, since you have to plan
your own schedule, and discipline yourself to study.
 2. Effective online communication skills are key,
since this is your primary method of communication.
 3. You have to create a good study environment,
your “classroom”, somewhere besides a real
 4. Active learning methods are key- you need to
make the material interesting on your own, by using
active strategies that work with your own study
6. How to choose an online
instructor-questions to ask
 1. “Are you proficient at using a variety of software
 2. “How quickly do you respond to student emails?”
 3. “Do you use new technologies in the course?”
 4. “How flexible are you with adult learners?”
 5. “Do you set clear expectations for students?”
 6. “How do you help to build an online community?”
 From
7. Time Management:
Adding structure to the
 Set aside a dedicated time each week for “class work”
(watching videos, reading material from the professor,
answering discussion posts) and each week for “reading
time” (reading the textbook)
 When it is this time, go to your “classroom” or “office”,
which is a spot that you have dedicated just to work on
this class
 Put all deadlines for the course into a planner or calendar
 Each week, make a list of tasks to complete for the class
and check them off when completed
 Have a separate notebook and binder for each online
8. Learning Tips for Online
 Stay organized: write major deadlines
into a planner or calendar
 Consider the ergonomics of your desk
and chair
 Can you be accountable to someone for
getting your work done each week?
9. Tips for Online Classes:
 Taking notes
 Take notes on the “lectures” like you
normally would
 Consider using the Cornell method (divide the
page vertically, and have a column for
questions or key words)
 Review your notes regularly, and integrate
them with the text
 Use self-testing to quiz yourself, using your
own questions and answers
10. Tips for Online Classes:
 Reading the textbook
 Reading the textbook is especially important,
since you are not “attending” class
 Find some way to take notes on, mark,
summarize, or make flashcards from the
reading and then review these periodically
 Question and Answer method:
 Take first sentence or heading -question
 Q (write your question)
 A (write your answer)
11. Class participation in
online classes
 Include subject lines in your email
 Avoid sarcasm, which is hard to interpret
 Acknowledge and return messages
 Use appropriate intensifiers to help
convey meaning (using asterisks is better
than using all caps)
12. Communication with
Professors- General Tips
 Why do students avoid talking to
 Feeling “out of the loop” for missing
several classes
 Fear of asking a dumb question
 Fear of confrontation
 Shyness
 Tendency to avoid interactions with those
in authority
13. Communication with
Professors- General Tips
 How to get over these fears
 Remember, you are paying the professor’s
salary. (He or she works for you!)
 Remember, the professor is just a person
too, with strengths and weaknesses.
 Try for little interactions at first and build
from there. Send an introductory email to
your professor for starters. Then think of
small questions to ask. Questions about
their research are usually well received.
14. Email Communication with
 Why does it matter what my emails look
 An email is like a professional letter
 Your professor will base his or her opinion
of you on your email, and maybe your
 Your emails in school will give you
practice for professional emails in your
15. Example email- what is
Ms. W!!!!
Wazzup? girl tell me what we have to do
for Friday’s discussn bcuz I take 3 claeses
and wrk 15 hrs/wk and I dont have time 2
git to a comupter to look n e thing up I rlly
like your cls bcuz your funny well let me
know cuz im a rlly gd stdt and need a A in
you’re cls.
[no signature]
16. Email Communication with
 Use your uh email account (less likely to go
to spam, looks official)
 In the subject line, identify your name and
course number
 Use correct form of address (Dr., Professor)
 Be brief but-
 Use proper grammar and sentence
structure (pretend like it is graded)
 Use a conclusion (“thanks for considering
my request”)
 Read it aloud to look for possible errors
17. Taking tests online
 If your test is open note/book, you should still study for it,
since time may be an issue
 See if there are some online questions you can practice
before the test, to get used to the question type and
format; take practice test
 If test is timed, practice answering with that pace in mind
 Are there other students in your part of town you can
form a study group with?
 Have a backup computer to use in case you have
problems with your computer
 Practice using the submission program before you really
need to use it
18. In conclusion:
 Online classes require self-discipline and
some planning ahead
 Consider what pitfalls may arise and take
steps to correct them before they
 Your professor is a great resource since
he/she has taught online students before
 Good luck in your online classes!