TAKE THIS QUIZ and get an idea of your “chances for success” as an online student.

Distance Education: Tips & Tricks (short video)

While there are many points to consider when making a decision about online learning, ultimately you are in the best position to know whether it fits your personal learning style and life style. If you have the right qualities to be a successful online student, you will probably find it to be a very convenient and rewarding alternative to traditional classroom learning. Certain attitudes, study and work habits, and skills are required. Successful students are normally highly motivated and have developed good study skills. Before deciding to take a distance learning course you should ask yourself these questions:


  • The amount of time needed to work on a course requires at least as much, if not more time and commitment than traditional courses.
  • Log into the course a minimum three times per week or dedicate at least 10 hours per week.
  • Students report that distance learning courses are as hard or harder than on campus courses.
  • Class discussions or other activities may require you to be online almost every day.


  • While distance education courses give you greater freedom of scheduling, but they can require more self discipline than on-campus classes. Most courses have a strict timetable.  Read the syllabus.  The syllabus is a critical resource for any course.  It is the road map or “game plan” for the entire course-get to know it well.
  • Traditional classes provide regular meeting dates and times with the opportunity to have discussions with classmates or your professor. It is different when there are no required class meetings or scheduled contact with your professor (although some require face to face meetings or online chat).
  • Distance education allows you flexibility and convenience, but it requires responsibility. Without the structure of regular class meetings, it will be up to you to pace yourself and keep up with assignments and course work.
  • Ask questions.  Professors need to know right away if you are having problems with course content or technology. You have to take responsibility and initiative for contacting your professor.
  • The importance of self motivation to success cannot be over emphasized.


  • Distance education is a good choice for people who are good at learning independently. Online courses vary in regards to the amount of opportunity for group interaction and class participation they offer. This may include, but not be limited to, the use of discussion board, chat room, or course email.  Make connections with fellow students whenever you can.
  • You must possess strong reading and writing skills.


  • You must be familiar with your own computer, the internet, and basic software.
  • You need to have basic technology skills (how to use email, save a file on your computer, attach a file, cut and past between applications, and how to download software), as well as regular access to a computer with continuous Internet connection.