1. Log into your course(s). No matter which course management software your college or instructor is using (Desire2Learn, Moodle, Blackboard, etc), you should make time every day to log into your course(s) and check things out. Especially watch any news feeds or discussion boards for updated information regarding your course, assignments, or deadlines.
2. Review the course syllabus. Make sure you understand what your instructor requires of you to be successful in your course(s). Instructor expectations may vary based on teaching style, so refer to your syllabus often to be sure you haven’t missed anything.
3. Check your college email. Your college email account is the official means of communication between you and your college. Check your email for updates or important announcements from your college or instructors.
4. Update your calendar. As new assignments or tests come up in your course(s), update your calendar to be sure you stay on top of things. Missing a deadline could mean big trouble. Keep a master calendar for all of your courses and check it every day.
5. Open the book. Most online courses will have a textbook requirement. Instead of trying to find time to read 10 chapters before the test, read a little every day to stay caught up. This should help you retain what you’ve read and make studying that much easier.
6. Visit the college website. Even though you are learning from a distance, it’s important that you know what your college is up to. There may be events or information that you’d be interested in knowing about. Check your college’s website and any social networking tools (Facebook, Twitter, etc) to see what’s happening.
7. Connect with classmates. Most online classrooms will have a classlist or discussion board for you to connect with classmates. Sometimes profiles of your classmates will be available for you to view as well. Get to know your classmates. They can be great resources for information and support. And…you’re likely to have them in another online class before you finish your degree.
Contributor: Nicole Seifert, Online Student Advisor