Tips for Online Students

  1. Accept that the first online class will feel overwhelming
    Let’s face it, the first time you try anything new it feels overwhelming.  Online courses are no different.  It takes time to learn how to maneuver through the system and to communicate with others online.  Your confidence will build as you become more comfortable with how things work.  Think about ways to motivate yourself now, so when you feel overwhelmed you keep yourself grounded in your overall education goals and keep moving forward.

  2. Take full advantage of SJSU resources
    SJSU has a variety of online resources available to students. You can always contact your College Student Success Center for help finding the resources you need.  The Spartan Success Portal has links to a number of helpful websites and apps. You can reach this through SJSU One and type “Student Lingo” into the search bar for help with time management, communication, study skills, etc.  Take advantage of the SJSU Tutoring Hub to get appointments with tutors for writing, studying or certain course topics.  Familiarize yourself with available resources to use them for increased learning experience and success in your online courses.

  3. Log on to your course frequently
    Make sure to check your course a minimum of 4-5 days a week. Once you get into the online discussions, you will want to see who has commented on your postings and read the instructor’s feedback. If you let too many days go by, you will get behind and find it very difficult to catch up.

  4. Participate ... Participate
    Regular participation is very important to a quality online experience for everyone.  Your classmates have a wide variety of background experiences that will naturally come out during discussions and projects, and it’s a great way to network with future colleagues. Jump in and contribute!

  5. Take the program and yourself seriously
    As part of SJSU’s accreditation, we are required to prove during strict audits that our classroom and online courses deliver the same content and rigor.  Many students take online courses, because they believe them to be easier or take less time.  These students either drop out or do poorly in the course.  Don’t let this happen to you!  Online courses affect academic records and financial aid.

  6. Budget your time, set schedules, and complete work on time
    Online courses are a convenient way to fit your education into an already busy life.  Make sure to block off regular time to work on your course and stick to that schedule.  For new online students it often takes a few weeks to get into a pattern, but you will find that setting a specific time period to work on your class will keep you on track.

  7. Try to find a private space where you can study
    Online courses are a convenient way to attend a course that you might otherwise not be able to attend on campus.  That being said, don’t discount the importance of having a place to concentrate and work on your course.  Coming to campus for a face-to-face course is a great way to get away from the disruptions of work or family for a few hours, and you will need to find a similar space to do the same when you work on your online course. During the pandemic, this may be a challenge.  If you are sharing space with a large number of people, you may have to get creative. Work with your family or housemates to agree on times where you can have a corner or room to yourself, uninterrupted. Put on headphones with quiet music or a white noise app to block out your environment.

  8. Be polite and respectful
    Being polite and respectful is not only common sense, it is absolutely essential for a productive and supportive online environment. In a positive online environment, you will be able to express your thoughts and opinions openly and feel your contribution has been valued by both your classmates and your instructor.

  9. Speak up if you are having problems
    Technical difficulties are not an excuse for late or missed assignments.  If you are having technical difficulties, or problems understanding something about the course, you MUST speak up otherwise there is no way that anyone will know that something is wrong.  Chances are that if you don’t understand something, others have the same question. Email your instructor or add questions to the online discussion board.

  10. Apply what you learn
    Apply everything you learn as you learn it, so it will be committed to long-term memory. Whenever possible, take the things you learn in your online course today and use them in your workplace tomorrow. Also, make connections between what you are learning and what you do or will do in your job.



The North Hennepin Community College’s 10 Tips for Being a Successful Online Student.