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How to Succeed in Online Classes

Many students have apprehensions about learning in an online format; however, millions of college students successfully complete online courses each year. The advantages are numerous with convenience at the top of the list. There are some unique challenges to being in all online courses, but students can be successful by using some basic organizational strategies.

  1. Identify how your online courses will be delivered. Read each class syllabus thoroughly. Some online courses may meet at a regular time each week while others may be asynchronous (on your time). Make sure you understand how all of your courses will be delivered so that you can plan.
  2. Become familiar with Canvas, the campus learning management system. Use these short videos to learn the common functions so that you can find everything you need in the course. Review the syllabus, instructor announcements and find all the materials and features identified as needed for the course. Download the Canvas Student app from the App store.
  3. Develop a study schedule. It is easy to lose track of your classes when you are not following a regular schedule. Create a habit of checking your Canvas site for instructor communication, reading instructional materials or watching videos, and completing the required assignments. Make sure you note deadlines for assignments and assessments. Watch Canvas short videos to learn how to use the calendar and notifications to alert you by email and/or text of dates, grades, and announcements. 
  4. Create a dedicated quiet space for class and studying with a desk or table where you do all your classwork. This will help you develop a focus and mindset when you approach your learning space.
  5. Contact the course instructor when you need help. Don’t delay in communicating with the course instructor if you are confused about instructions, an assignment, or can’t find something on the Canvas site. When emailing your instructor, it is helpful to identify the prefix and number of the course you are in and your full name. This will help instructors who teach more than one course.

Video: Strategies for taking quizzes and tests in online classes 

  1. Plan ahead. Read the syllabus to know all due dates. Is it timed and/or proctored?
  2. Find a clear and quiet space to take the quiz or test
  3. Use the full time you are allowed
  4. Be honest and do not look up answers

Video: Online Learning Success Strategies Working in Groups 

  1. Communicate early and often. Use the inbox tool in Canvas to send messages to each other. Ask questions and respond in a timely way. Discuss ideas, project goals, and set due dates. The #1 mistake in group work is lack of good communication. 
  2. Find a communication method that works for all. Use Canvas, GroupMe, Slack, Discord, or email. Make sure everyone knows how to use the tool. Stick with it and check it regularly. If using an app, make sure it is on your phone home screen. 
  3. Meet regularly once a week (in person or on Zoom, Teams, Discord, Facetime). Students are busy, so regular group meetings do not have to be long (10-15 minutes). Use to find a time that works for everyone.
  4. Play an active role. Be proactive. Be a leader. Encourage each other. Check up on unresponsive members. These simple strategies will help your group be successful and enjoyable!

    How to Succeed in Online Classes

    5 Strategies

    1. Have a growth mindset and be flexible
    2. Learn how to use Canvas through the short video tutorials. Canvas is the online classroom or learning management tool. 
    3. Check your Canvas Calendar and Canvas To Do List often. Set up Canvas Notifications for class announcements, new course content, due dates, and grades. Multiple email addresses can be used as well as text messages. Download the Canvas app for your phone.
    4. Communicate and ask for help when needed. Email your professor or someone else who may have the same question
    5. Get organized and create a quiet study area.

    Happy learning!

    How to be Successful in Online Classes
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