Student Success Guide
for Online Learners
Susan Tolbert, MS
• Keys to student success
• The role of the student and the teacher
• Information on student orientation
• An Introduction to the program or class
• Online resources
Keys to Success as an Online Learner
• Self-motivated (does not need a lot of direction, motivation from the
• Self-disciplined (can budget time wisely and does not procrastinate
• Enjoys the challenge of learning on her/his own (likes to read and learn)
• Takes charge of her/his own learning (willing to ask questions and seek
help when necessary)
• Good communication and writing skills.
• May need a flexible schedule but understands that flexibility does NOT
mean the course will be easy.
Tips for Success
• Please Watch the Following Video
• What is expected of me as an online student?
• Turn homework in on time
• Participate in class discussions, since active online discussion will keep
you involved and engaged with your fellow learners, much like phone
calls and text messaging keeps you connected to your friends and family.
• Have easy access to the Internet (preferably high-speed access); have a
backup location for accessing the Internet if your home or work Internet
connection is not available when you need to access the course or turn
• Have at least 10-20 hours per week available to devote to each course.
• Be able to apply basic computer skills such as MS Office, internet
navigation, downloading and uploading files to complete
assignments, and participate in online activities; recruit a friend or
colleague with more computer skills than you have to help you
troubleshoot in a pinch.
• Be self-disciplined about managing time, since there is no peer pressure
or regular class schedule to keep you on task.
• Provide clear guidelines and course criteria for participation
• Provide criteria for student assessment
• Provide constant support for students and ensure that assistance is
available if required
• Intervene in discussion if dialogue between students stalls or goes off
• Be flexible to accommodate unforeseen problems and issues
• Orientation to Online Learning is designed for students that are new to
online learning. This orientation will help you become acquainted with
online learning and what you need to know to be successful at it.
Orientation to Online Learning consists of four learning modules. It is
recommend you take each module in the order they are introduced.
• Module 1-Introduction
• Module 2-Getting Started
• Module 3-Learning Management System
• Module 4-Online Learning Tips
• Welcome to online learning and thank you for enrolling into an online
course with our University.
• As you may already know, online courses provide amazing flexibility in
allowing you to continue your education without traveling to campus
several times per week. This can save you time, travel costs, and fit
nicely into your already busy life! It is important to note, however, that
these courses follow the semester schedule, have weekly assignment
deadlines, require regular participation in discussion boards, and are as
rigorous as on-campus courses.
• It will be very helpful for you to be self-motivated and disciplined to
ensure that your assignments and course requirements are completed on
Module 2-Getting Started
• Getting Ready for Online Learning
• Five key readiness tips for taking an online course.
• GET ORIENTED - Be sure to take advantage of the Blackboard
• KNOW YOUR PC - Be an experienced computer user! Know how to: use
your computer, download and upload files, navigate and open multiple
tabs in your browser, and troubleshoot general issues. It's also important
to have reliable and high speed Internet access.
• READ - Be sure to read all course
information, syllabi, instructions, contact information, and schedule
information. Follow the instructions in the syllabus to stay current and
to ensure assignments and participation requirements are submitted
before the due date.
• LOGIN DAILY - Start out strong and be sure to login on the semester
start date. It's helpful to have a regular study routine that includes
logging into Blackboard daily. This will prevent you from getting behind
quickly as most online courses require your regular participation in
discussion boards. You should also check your campus email daily. Email
is used by online professors to communicate important deadlines and
• BE SELF-DISCIPLINED & ENGAGED - Be sure to manage and prioritize
your time well, be active, study hard, participate in online
discussions, stay organized, submit assignments on time, don't
procrastinate, keep a calendar or a checklist to be sure you are on
task, etc. Self-motivation is also important so that you can remember to
login frequently to participate and to engage in learning. The key is to
have a dedicated time set aside for your course work and to minimize
obstacles that hinder you from studying and participating.
Believe & Ask for Help
• Believe you can do it! Have confidence in yourself, your academic
ability, and expect to be successful! Be aware of where you need to
improve and don't get behind. Your faculty member is the first person to
contact if you have any questions related to the content of your course.
If you are confused or cannot find something in your online
course, contact your instructor. If you are unable to login, have
technical issues submitting an assignment or quiz, contact the IT
Customer Support help desk immediately. Additionally, several tutorial
labs offer online tutoring that enables you to chat with live on
Blackboard IM with a tutor.
Set Appropriate Expectations
Online and hybrid courses will require at least the same amount of time
as the on-campus equivalent. If you spend 3 hours in lecture per week
and six hours studying per week for a 3 credit course on-campus, then
you will likely spend 3 hours online and an additional six hours studying
per week for a 3 credit online course. It is also important to remember
that you do not get instantaneous feedback in online courses like you do
in a face-to-face course. Your faculty member should communicate with
you their turn around time for emails and grading assignments.
Module 3-Learning Management System
Blackboard is the online system that is used to delivery online learning
courses at this University. If you are new to online learning and to
Blackboard, we recommend completing the "Basics of Blackboard"
Please review the following online link to become familiar with the
Module 4-Online Learning Tips
There are 3 key steps to success in online learning:
• STEP 1: Before the Class Begins - Be sure to review the readiness
tips, login and learn how to use Blackboard, and access your campus
• STEP 2: The First Week of Class - Make sure that you login on the first
day of class, become oriented to the course, and read the entire
• STEP 3: During the Semester - Be sure to login daily, interact in
discussion board forums as required, keep a schedule and planner, and
submit assignments or assessments on time.
• The following resources are available once you complete your orientation.
• Writing Center
• Time Management Resources
• Financial Services
• Student Support Services
Please feel free to contact me at any time via
your campus email or blackboard discussion
I am also available to speak with you through
Skype or the phone if you book an
I look forward to spending time with you on
this new an exciting journey of online learning
Susan Tolbert, MS