College of Communication & Education

How to Succeed as an Online Student

Now that campus has moved to virtual instruction, we wanted to give you some tips on how to be successful as an online student. Whether it's setting up a routine, becoming familiar with technology, or just being mindful of unplugging, you'll need to prepare for an educational experience that requires initiative, motivation, and self-reliance.

Here are some steps that you can take to make your online transition a bit smoother:

1. Create a Study Environment that Best Meets Your Needs

The environment in which you study can have a huge impact on how much information you actually absorb. Take some time to consider your study environment and then tailor it to your needs.

Make sure that you:

  • Have supportive seating when you are on your laptop or computer
  • Have enough space for your textbooks, notebooks, and other supplies
  • Have a good source of lighting and ventilation
  • Are in a space with minimal interruptions
2. Develop a Sense of Self-Motivation and Time Management

It's easier to maintain self-discipline when you develop a routine for doing the work. Utilizing a calendar and setting your schedule will help you become more effective. Studying at home can be difficult, so be sure to also set some goals to work towards.

3. Participate and Communicate

You may not be able to simply raise your hand to get the attention of your instructors and classmates, but that doesn't mean you don't have to participate. Virtual learning is instructionally designed to encourage student interactions with each other and with the instructor.

  • Email your instructor and classmates - whether it's to collaborate, ask questions, make comments, or just to offer support to others
  • Post on discussion boards - It may count as class participation and can be a significant part of your grade
  • Utilize any available chat rooms
4. Ask For Help
  • If you have questions about your course and/or course materials, please reach out to your instructor right away
  • If you are experiencing technical difficulties contact IT Support Services (ITSS) at