Skills for Success

Shasta College Online - Skills for Success 


Time Management and Planning

Time management may be one of the most important skills for online students to master. Online courses are neither easier nor do they take less time than traditional classes. Make sure you set aside time for your courses.  One advantage of online courses is the collaborative environment that they enable. Students who complete their work early will usually have the best chance of getting corrective feedback, either from the instructor or from classmates depending upon the activity. Postings made close to the activity deadline usually leave very little opportunity for constructive feedback and improvement prior to the deadline.
  • Set aside specific times each day for studying.
  • Mark due dates of assignments and exams in a calendar.
  • Make a “to do” list of the items you have to complete each week.

Persistence and Motivation

As with any new challenge, persistence is critical for success. Those who succeed are the ones who are willing to persist through both the academic and technical challenges of being an online student. Staying motivated can be a challenge for some online students. If you have trouble staying motivated or persisting, try the following tips:
  • When you run into a challenge, don’t give up and ask for help if you need it.
  • Reflect on your educational goals.
  • Follow the time management tips above to help you avoid stressful challenges.

Basic Technical Skills

You may need to brush up on some basic technical skills before the class starts. If you do not have a lot of experience using computers for academic work such as writing papers, creating presentations, or uploading attachments, try the following tips before you start your class:
  • Search for and watch YouTube videos that show how to use software.
  • Take software tutorials like the ones available through Microsoft Office Training.

Netiquette (Online Communication Skills)

Communicating online is different than communicating face-to-face because many of the social cues are absent. Interaction provides several advantages for students. First, additional exposure to the material increases retention, so the more you think about the course material the better you will learn and remember. Second, your classmates can offer additional perspectives and suggestions that you may have never considered.
  • Being polite and respectful to your classmates and instructor is important for creating a positive and supportive learning environment.
  • Using extra caution in the way things are worded online is important since many of the social cues of face-to-face communication are absent.
  • Take the time to introduce yourself to your instructor. You should be able to do this within the course space. A personal introduction will help distinguish you from the other students in your course. At times students may make requests of instructors (e.g., extensions, requests for additional information) and instructors are much more inclined to be receptive towards students they know, rather than those that they do not.

Create Good Study Habits

Know what assignments are due before completing assigned reading. If you read and know the upcoming assignments before completing your assigned reading, you can have the requirements for the assignment in mind while you are processing the information.  It is also import to determine what criteria apply to the learning assessment, and use those guidelines when completing activities. Some instructors provide evaluation criteria, such as rubrics, for their activities. These will usually provide you some idea of the information instructors are looking for when they are evaluating the activities.

  • Find a quiet place where you can get your work done without distractions.
  • Avoid the urge to start surfing around the internet or using social networking sites.
  • Turn off your cell phone.
  • Uninstall video games that may be too tempting for you.

Get Help

Acknowledging when you need help is important for success.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact your instructor if assignments seem unclear or you are having difficulty understanding something.
  • Contact your counselor to discuss any challenges that are having a negative impact on your work.
  • Look into the campus resources and assistance programs that are available.
  • Use the technical support services if you are having trouble using Canvas.