Engage the course material and all its resources. As in life, the more time committed to what you deem important, the greater likelihood of success. Learning online is the same — make the most of your education by engaging the course content (syllabus, textbook, online readings, discussions), communicating with your professor and connecting with other students in the class.
Most students understand the importance of completing the assigned readings (textbook and online readings), and other course materials such as videos, while putting less importance of understanding the course syllabus. The course syllabus is the road map for success in the course. Refer to it and refer to it often.
Communicate with your instructor early and as often as necessary. Unlike face-to-face learning, in online learning the instructor does not have the visual clues to determine if you understand a concept or course material. It is up to you to seek clarity on course material or assignments by communicating with your instructor, which lessens the likelihood of falling behind in the course. It is important to give instructors a reasonable amount of time to respond — in online classes preparing a written response, exchanging emails or scheduling a time to speak takes time. Inquiring as questions develop is key.
Connect with classmates and feel the community build! Understanding who your classmates are and sharing appropriate information about yourself, professional interests and other course work, enhances your college experience. Classmates and instructors enrich your learning through the mutual sharing of experiences and knowledge as well as being a great addition to your professional network.