Learning online

Learning remotely allows for a bit more flexibility, but requires you to establish your own routine, compared to when your class met face-to-face. Often, you will not need to “attend” during a specific day or time: however, especially if you are new to online learning, we encourage you to schedule time in your weekly calendar to log in and work on assignments. Assume that the work will require the same time commitment as it did when you met face-to-face (i.e., around 9 hours of study time per 3-credit hour course). Be actively involved in all classes and complete all of the assignments on or before the due dates listed. For additional study habits, please view the tips on Purdue University’s website for their Online Student Toolkit. Some of the tips are directly related to Purdue and may not apply to our college’s policies or available resources, but their tips are generally useful for all learners.

Tips for success

Self-directed learning ties closely with online learning. It is important that you take the time to study and learn using strategies that work best for you. You may want to set goals for each day or a to-do list. Even though you are a remote learner, you can still have online study groups with your peers, where you set aside time to email each other, online chat, or just hold each other accountable. If you are someone who may procrastinate, view this helpful guide in Overcoming Procrastination. In addition, checking your understanding is important. This can be done by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What did I learn this week?
  • How do I know what I learned?
  • How can I apply what I learned this week?

Is something I learned this week still confusing or unclear? If so, focus on those topics or ask your instructor for clarification or an additional meeting.

  • Discussion posts
  • Videos
  • Tutoring
  • Academic support
Discussion posts

Online discussions can grow and develop in a matter of minutes or hours, unlike face-to-face discussions during a specific class period. Participating once a week may not be enough for you to get the most out of the conversations.

Make the most of online discussions

  • Answer the question promptly but be clear and concise. Use the readings or your personal experiences to back your answers and points-of-view. Drive the conversation forward in a number of different ways:
  • Provide concrete examples, perhaps from your own experience.
  • Describe possible consequences or implications.
  • Challenge something posted in the discussion – perhaps by playing “devil’s advocate.”
  • Pose a clarifying question.
  • Suggest a different perspective or interpretation.
  • Pull in related information from other sources – books, articles, websites, other courses, etc.
  • Make discussion posts CRISP: considerate, reflective, interactive, succinct, and pertinent or purposefully. 

Stay engaged

Revisit the discussion boards often - some people take 10 minutes a day to login and review the discussion boards, others set aside a chunk of time multiple days of the week. Either way, participating in the discussions through the week can help increase your learning on a topic by answering questions posed to you, engaging with others’ discussions, and seeking clarity from other discussion posts.


Take notes while watching all course videos, as if they were live lectures. When reading course materials, annotate what you are learning. Here’s a great article on Best Tips on How to Annotate an Article. The same tips can apply when reading your course textbook.


Tutors and peer supports are available to meet virtually through video conferencing, by phone, or by email to help as you develop and refine your online learning skills and strategies, including setting up a schedule, note-taking and reading strategies, study skills and more. These services include the Algebra Alcove, the Math Assistance Center, TRIO, the NAC, STEAM and the Writing Center.

Academic support

All other Academic Support Services are moving online. Here is a brief list of those services and how you can contact each of them:

Your work, your property

Intellectual property guidelines apply in your online course. It’s easy to copy and paste, but remember that work conducted in a password-protected online educational environment are educational records that are subject to federal privacy protection. Students and instructors own the work they author in these environments, subject only to the university’s right to use those work for educational purposes. This includes, but is not limited to email, papers, reports, presentations, videos, chats, blogs and discussion board posts. Do not copy, reproduce or post to any other outlet (e.g., YouTube, Facebook, or other open media sources) any work of which you are not the sole author or have not obtained the permission of the author(s).

Academic integrity remains part of Students Right and Responsibilities.

See discussion post tips