CLASS Tips for Success in an Online Course

Take Ownership of Your eLearning Experience

With the added flexibility of online learning comes added responsibility. A fully online course may not require any face-to-face meetings and thus the online learning experience is oftentimes self-directed.  To take ownership of your online learning experience it is recommended that you

  • log in to each online course at least a few times per week

  • spend at least 8 hours per week actively working on each 3-credit online course (see Florida State Statute 6A-10.033)

  • diligently monitor communications from professor or peers

Set Realistic Expectations

An online section of a course is just as rigorous as a face-to-face section. Although an online course may offer more flexibility, you will still have to complete assignments and assessments by specific deadlines. It is unrealistic to assume that taking an online course will grant you ample free time and less responsibility. In order to be successful in your online course, you will need to spend as much time and put forth as much effort as you would if you were enrolled in a face-to-face section of the course.

Get Comfortable with the Required Technologies

Although different online courses may require you to be familiar with different technologies, a successful online learner should

  • know how to navigate Canvas

  • have experience navigating web browsers and web pages

  • become familiar with course-specific technology requirements before the course begins

  • purchase required access codes (if required) before the course begins

  • develop a support list that includes support resources for each of the required technologies.

  • make sure your computer meets the FAU Office of Information Technology computer recommendations (available here).

Carefully Review the Course Syllabus

The course syllabus is one of the most important documents that pertains to your online course. It should clearly outline expectations and requirements as well as provide a detailed roadmap to course completion (FAU, 2015). Due to the absence of face-to-face meetings in an online course, it is imperative that students know and closely adhere to the course syllabus. The syllabus lists important items including but not limited to the following:

  • Professor contact information

  • Course learning outcomes

  • Course evaluation method

  • Course schedule with key deliverables (if applicable)

  • Course-specific requirements and policies (if applicable)

  • Required textbooks

  • Disability policy statement

  • Code of Academic Integrity policy statement

Manage Your Time

Time management is an essential skill for college and career success. It is also an essential skill for an online learner. Due to the absence of fact-to-face meetings, fully online courses often have more unstructured class time than face-to-face courses. To successfully manage the time you have allocated to your online course (8+ hrs. per week per course), it is recommended that you

  • keep a traditional or digital calendar with important dates and deadlines

  • budget additional time in the beginning of the semester to learn required technologies

  • schedule consistent weekly blocks of time to work on each online course

  • use digital devices to set reminders for weekly assignments, exams and projects

Engage with Others

It may be tempting to go through an entire online course without much interaction with the instructor or your peers. However, such on-going dialog can greatly enhance the online learning experience and help you build your professional network. Furthermore, continual communication with the instructor shows that you are invested in the learning process. Online discussion boards are a great opportunity to engage with peers, share your ideas and entertain other perspectives.

Develop a Study Space

Completing an online course requires that you spend hours of undistracted time each week dedicated to coursework. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you establish a study space that you can use throughout the semester. A study space could be any quiet area that has a stable internet connection in which you can work undistracted.

Know Your  Resources   

FAU wants to see you succeed in your online course! As an online student it is very important to have a support network. As an online student we recommend that you

  • frequently meet with your advisor

  • introduce yourself to your online instructors

  • connect with your eLearning success coordinator

  • know how to file a ticket with the FAU Help Desk at

  • find official online help guides for any required technologies  

  • keep in touch with classmates


(2015). Guidelines for course syllabi. FAU Office of the Provost [memorandum]. Retrieved from  

(2015). Strategies for online learning success. Mason Online. Retrieved from  

 Last Modified 8/26/20