Tips for Success in an Online Course

Students working at computers in the library

Is online learning right for you?  We encourage you to watch this short video and take the quiz to learn more about what you can expect from an online course.

How to Be Successful in an Online Learning Environment

Online courses offer the freedom and flexibility to complete coursework anytime and anywhere. This freedom means you are responsible for managing your learning environment. Online courses require just as much work as face-to-face courses do, and sometimes can feel as though they require more work depending on your learning preferences (Ericksen, 2014).  The following skills will help you stay on track and be successful in your online courses.

Tech Skills

  • Begin by understanding the tech requirements for the program.
  • Evaluate your internet access and computer hardware to ensure it meets the requirements of the learning environment.
  • Familiarize yourself with the learning platform by completing all tutorials provided and by asking questions (Mock, 2015).


  • Communication with professors is critical to success in the online learning environment.
  • Promptly email professors when you have questions or concerns and make sure to take advantage of Q&A forums provided in the course.
  • Office hours in the syllabus are times when you can feel free to reach out to your professor by phone or video-conference.
  • Forming relationships with your online classmates is important too. Connect early and often to classmates via email and/or social media ("Tips," n.d.).


  • Create a study environment that contains the materials you need to accomplish assignments. Develop a consistent and convenient system for saving documents.
  • Take notes while reading course materials and watching online lectures or videos (Mock, 2015).
  • If you work better when you have hard copies of course materials, print them and keep them handy while you work.

Time Management

  • Create a schedule that includes regular and sufficient time to complete course assignments and stick to it.
  • Review assignments at the beginning of each course and create a calendar that contains all due dates.
  • Log into your class daily to check for course changes and to review course materials (Sheehy, 2012).


  • Successful online students are independent and persistent. When difficulties arise, they stay motivated and keep trying.
  • It is essential to avoid distractions and remind yourself regularly of the reasons why you are enrolled in an online course ("What makes," n.d.).