Whether you are working alone or in a group, contribute your ideas, perspective, and comments on the subject you are studying, and read those of your classmates. Your instructor is not the only source of information in your courses–you can gain great insight from other students and they can learn from you as well!
Log on to your course every single day!
Log on to your course every single day, or at least a minimum of 5-6 days a week. Once you log in, you will be able to see who has commented on something you have posted or to read the feedback from your instructor. You should be engaged with your course on a daily basis. That kind of self-discipline can keep you from falling behind!
Spend some time exploring your course!
When you walk into a classroom for the first time, the instructor gives you some tools to guide you through the rest of the term. These may include a syllabus, reading list, description of assignments, or grading and evaluation criteria. These same tools are available in an online environment as well! Visit each of the links off the main page of your course, and see what’s there. Download or print out pages for reference and review when you’re offline. Practice sending mail through the system or posting a note to the Discussion Board. See what questions come up for you as you explore the course, and get them answered before the class gets too far down the road!
Be polite and respectful!
Being polite and respectful is not only common sense, it is absolutely necessary for a productive and supportive online course! Always think before you click Send. Did you say just what you meant? How will the person on the other end read the words? While you can’t anticipate all reactions, do read over what you’ve written before you send it. Any derogatory or inappropriate comments regarding race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, are unacceptable. If you have concerns about something that has been said, please let your instructor know.
Speak up if you are having problems!
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. Your instructor will not see your frown or hear the question in your voice. For this reason you may find it necessary to be persistent and vocal when you don’t understand something. Your instructor wants to help – email your question, express your uncertainty, and be direct! Be sure and ask about anything and everything that has to do with course content and course requirements.
Observe the Student Code of Conduct!
Plagiarism, cheating and other violations of ethical student behavior have no place in a learning community. Violators of the student code of conduct will be dealt with according to the policies set forth in the Student Handbook.
Asking Questions and Getting Help!
One of the biggest differences between an online course and a traditional classroom course is that you can’t see the instructor and students. But the Internet is a powerful tool for communication, so use it! Do not be shy about e-mailing your instructor with questions or even just to say hello.
Online learning requires the ability to work independently. It is up to you to take responsibility for what you learn. In general, the best path to success online is to be actively involved in your courses, to focus on your goals, to prioritize your responsibilities, and to ask for the help you may need.