What Makes Online Successful

Top five strategies for success in online learning:

Congratulations on your commitment to online study! We hope you're ready for some challenging content and excited to learn. Despite some common misperceptions, learning online isn't easier than learning in a classroom; there are challenges that you'll need to address. Following are some tips that spell out what you'll need to do to perform your best. As always, we have advisors available who can help.

1. Set a schedule and stick to it.

The flexibility of online classes is what usually attracts students, particularly for those with a lot on their plate at home or work. This flexibility, however, can lead students into trouble.

It can be tempting for students to put off an assignment, thinking they'll find time later in the week. But online classes have specific due dates and time just like traditional classes. You should schedule consistent, multi-hour blocks of time during the week that you can devote to coursework and adhere rigidly to this schedule.

2. Communicate regularly with the instructor

MCC wants you to get the most out of your investment and that means taking advantage of every resource you have starting with your instructor. Communicating regularly with your instructors will benefit you both during and beyond the course.

During the course, it's important to ask questions when the material or assignments are unclear and discuss larger assignments such as research papers. Be sure you respect your instructor's preferred mode of communication (e.g., email, Skype, phone), but don't shrink away from these conversations.

Students who fail to get their questions answered and concerns addressed often fall behind quickly and significantly. Moreover, establishing a working relationship with your instructor is essential for expanding your professional network and developing a list of references you can use for career purposes.

3. Engage with your classmates

Don't limit your discussion postings to responding to the prompts posted by the instructor. Add your own insights and questions to the discussion. These contributions help other students relate the course material to the real world and other areas of study.

Also, share appropriate information about yourself, such as your career interests and other courses you've enjoyed. As your instructor, you should consider your classmates to be part of your professional network and you should cultivate relationships with them.

4. Don't procrastinate!

In an online class, particularly for first-time students, there may be technical difficulties to overcome. Take the possibility of these difficulties into account and give yourself time to acclimate to new software and hardware.

Further, give your instructors a reasonable amount of time to answer your questions. In an online class, exchanging emails or arranging phone conversations takes time. In short, just as in traditional courses, expect that you may encounter hurdles when completing the work and leave yourself time to overcome them.

5. Remember that online classes vary greatly

Just as with traditional courses, there are many ways to design an online class. Some online courses rely primarily on the discussion boards to further your learning while others make more substantial use of group projects.

Be prepared for proctored exams in an online course, realizing that virtual proctoring is available. For more information about specific course expectations, sample course syllabi are available.