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Tips for Online Students

Advice from other online students

The below list of tips was compiled from students who have previously taken online courses at an Illinois Community College:

  • Avoid procrastination! Get started right away and fulfill the course requirements on schedule. Build into your schedule a weekly time when you can look ahead at what work is needed that week; compare that with what else is going on in your life and make up a plan for when/how you will complete the tasks.
  • When you have a question or a problem, direct it to your fellow students through the course discussion board or to your instructor. Serving as resources for each other is a big part of online learning. Some students even recruit a learning buddy in the class.
  • Login to the course site everyday (well…at least every other day or at least what your instructor requires) to check for announcements, new postings, and interesting contributions to the discussion area. Read all course information carefully.
  • Buy the required text and study materials. They are often the core of the course content. Get them before the class starts so you don’t fall behind.
  • Get organized so that you can access what you need quickly. For example, designate a study space and set it up so that all of the things you need to learn best are available…Quiet? Music? Space to spread out? Filing system for course materials? Few distractions?
  • Add a bookmark/favorites in your browser to access the course site and any other resources that you use frequently in the course.
  • Negotiate with your family/roommates on chores and other duties so that you can put together a couple of blocks of time each week to work on bigger assignments.
  • Find someone you know in your community who can answer technical questions when your printer won’t print, your file won’t open, your Internet Service Provider is down for the day, or your browser keeps crashing. These things seem to happen when you’re facing a deadline or working at a time when your college’s Help Desk is closed.
  • Be active in the online discussions or chats, especially early in the semester. It helps you get to know the other students so that you don’t feel so isolated the rest of the semester, and you feel comfortable asking them questions when you need help.