How to Be Successful in an Online Course

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Welcome to the Central Ohio Technical College’s retention guide to online learning!

We feel it’s important to highlight characteristics an online learner should possess.

  • Are you a self-directed learner?
  • Are you comfortable asking questions?
  • Can you stay motivated?

If you answered yes, then you should be successful taking classes online. 

Taking classes online can be an adjustment; however, with a deeper understanding of the best practices of learning online, you should successfully engage, learn, and complete your course(s).

Here are some best practices and approaches to being a successful online student:

1. Create a time-management Plan

Being an online student requires a lot of self-discipline. As most courses do not have a meeting time, students must find time to complete all coursework within a week. Manage your time but review the weekly tasks as soon as the course opens. Pick a specific day and time that you can complete your work, just like in a face-to-face classroom. Before you start class, make sure you meet the technical requirements so you can start and keep on track!

2. Be thoughtful and ask questions in online discussions

Your interactions with other students and the instructor will be in the discussion area of your course, which allows you to learn other people’s interpretations and understanding of the material. Be thoughtful in your responses and think deeply before posting. This will allow you to have more meaningful conversations. Be thoughtful in your questions and take time to write them clear and concise

3. Stay motivated to learn

You may not have any physical contact with your instructor or classmates, which can make it difficult to stay motivated. Participate in class, ask questions, and keep your eye on the prize. Identify your motivator to keep you working towards completing the course. The more involved and engaged you are with online discussions and assignments, the easier it is to stay motivated in class

4. Make connections with fellow students

Being a part of an online community of students can be beneficial for everybody. Students can learn a lot from other students along with the instructor through their discussions. Read your discussions in your course and interact with other students through responses and comments. Ask and answer questions and consider sharing contact information with each other.