Being Successful in an Online Environment

Online learning comes with its own tips and habits that you'll need to develop as you work through your degree. We've compiled some of them here in hopes of preparing for success!

Success Tips for Online Students

Developing Study Habits for Success

A good thing about online courses is that there is flexibility as to when you choose to complete your work during the week, but you have to do the work. You need to understand that online courses are not an easier way to learn, but rather a more convenient one and require the same study skills, if not more, that make one successful in face-to-face classes. Below are some helpful tips to help you succeed as an online student.

Succeeding from the Beginning

  • Read all course information and/or the syllabus very carefully. Look for details about the course requirements, meetings, assignments, tests, media and technology used, schedule or due dates, and contact information. If you do not find details about these topics, ask your instructor in the beginning.
  • Make sure you have a dependable connection to the internet. Especially for Zoom video conferencing, which we recommend you doing at home where you will not be distracted.
  • Log into your course as soon as it becomes available (generally 2 weeks before the course start date). Ask any questions you might have about course requirements, assignments, due dates, materials needed, etc.
  • Explore Canvas, our Learning Management System (LMS), which has helpful user information under the “Help” tab in the “Search the Canvas Guides” section.
  • Advise your instructor immediately of any changes in your personal information (i.e. e-mail address, phone number, mailing address, etc.).
  • Get to know other people in your class through discussions, chats, emails, etc. Relationships with your online peers can help support and encourage you throughout the course.

Learning styles:

Find out how you learn best. Most people have preferred ways of absorbing or processing information. There is no learning style that is right or wrong, but it is helpful to evaluate your strengths so you can capitalize on them. You may need to develop new learning strategies when your online course requires that you process information in ways that are less comfortable to you. Most people can learn in a number of ways.

If you are a visual learner, it may be helpful to print out the material being covered to review. If you are an auditory learner, it may be helpful to schedule time to play or replay audio and video-based course content.

Figure out what are the best times for you to study. If you are a morning person, make time to study in the mornings. If you more of a night person, set aside some time in the evenings.

Study Tips:

  • Schedule: Dedicate time to work on your course. Make yourself a schedule once you get your syllabus and stick to it. Set yourself a to do list for each week (time to read, assignment, online discussions and papers) and leave room for unexpected setbacks (i.e. sick child, unexpected deadline at work). For instance, if it will take you three days complete a project give yourself five days.
  • Course outcome: Have an end result of what you desire to get out of the course. It is helpful for you to stay motivated while taking a course and having an end goal of what you wish to get out of the course will help you stay on track. For example, mastering a specific skill, improving your competence in a specific area, feeling more comfortable conversing about a topic.
  • Study space: Have a designated study space for course work that has good lighting, a place where you will be comfortable and away from distractions. Avoid interruptions and distractions while you are working on you online course. Ask your family and friends to respect your study space. Signoff of any social media outlets and if possible, turn off your phone.
  • Build relationships: Online courses may make you feel like you are learning on your own, but that is further from the truth. Many of your classmates will be dealing with the same challenges that you are facing. Talk to each other. Connecting with your online classmates on social media or online discussions will help tremendously with your online experience. Taking the opportunity to converse with other classmates will help you to engage in new ideas and offer you valuable input into your course. Pick a “study buddy” and work together. Also choose a local person that you can discuss content that you are working through.
  • Communicate well: Be mindful that you learn to communicate effectively online as body language is lost online. Be sure to write in complete sentences and avoid humour or sarcasm in your responses as they are very easily misinterpreted and can cause unnecessary tension. Also be respectful when you have disagreeing points with others in your course.
  • Ask for help: Be sure to ask for help when you need it. If you do not understand an assignment, get clarity from the instructor or talk through your assignments with other students.

Managing Time

  • Log in regularly: While you may not "attend" class, you do need to establish a time to work on your online course. Check the course site regularly for changes, additional information, announcements, etc.
  • Keep a Calendar: After studying the syllabus, mark deadlines, test dates, etc. in a calendar. Mark items off as you complete them.
  • Set your own goals and deadlines: Set specific days or times to complete online assignments.
  • Keep established and recommended deadlines: It is much easier to stay on schedule than to catch up when you fall behind.
  • Do not procrastinate: Do not wait until the last minute to do assignments or take tests. Allow time for technical difficulties.
  • Communicate often: Check your email regularly and respond promptly to instructors and fellow classmates.

Completing Assignments

  • Read instructions carefully. When in doubt, ask questions. This helps you get to know what your instructor expects.
  • Be prepared to apply critical thinking and decision-making skills. Rather than regurgitating facts, your online instructor may ask you to make decisions based on information you have gathered and processed.
  • Keep electronic copies of your completed assignments.

Ask for Help

  • Remember that your instructor is there to instruct. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Unlike in a face-to-face class, your instructor does not know you are confused, bored, or frustrated unless you tell them.
  • Allow a reasonable amount of time for instructors to respond to email.
  • Ask for help as soon as communication difficulties surface. Do not wait until you have fallen behind or until the end of the course to share concerns.
  • Use our course evaluations that are available to you at the end of the term to put in your input about each of your courses. These evaluations help the instructor and the college to know what to keep and where to improve.

What are the connection requirements for Carey courses?

As an online school, it is important that students' internet connectivity be adequate for completing course work and properly engaging with classmates. While the overall data and connnection requirements may vary depending on certain activities, there are a few areas you should determine whether you will have a proper connection.

Zoom Meetings

Courses will usually have a minimum of two Zoom meetings in a term, though often more than that. The basic requirements is that students have 1.5mbps upload, and 5mbps download. If you need to test your connection, there are various free tests you can find simply by searching "internet speed test" which should give you a relatively accurate report.

EBSCO eBook Library

Access to titles in the EBSCO eBook Library requires an active connection. Some titles do allow for downloading depending on publisher permissions, but this isn't always the case.

Data Usage

For students who have a cap on data usage, here is a general breakdown:

  • Zoom meetings can use up 1gb per hour.
  • For courses where you will need to upload a video, a standard 3 minute video will take up about 325mb.
  • Text files and PDFs will usually vary between 100kb to 3mb (or 3,000kb) depending on factors like images, compression, and length.

Where, When, and How of Online Learning

The Importance of Scheduling in Online Learning