Online Success Starts HERE!
8 Strategies for Success
Courses delivered in a digital environment are very different from those taught in traditional classrooms. Special equipment and technical skills are needed, along with a solid understanding of the discipline and focus required to be successful online. Read carefully to be sure you're ready to meet some of the basic requirements of learning online. If you're already enrolled in an online course, let this information guide you as you plan your strategy for success. Remember, preparation now equals academic success later!
1. Evaluate Your Hardware Needs
The quality of your computer and internet connection is critical. A good webcam and microphone can also be important. Follow the guidelines provided by the Student Technology Center, and, if you still have questions, contact the Student Help Desk. Don't let the semester begin without taking care of these critical requirements.
2. Become Proficient in Basic Technical Skills
Do you know how to use a word processing program, search the Internet, send an email, create new documents, and videoconference? These basic technical skills are prerequisites for successfully navigating an online course. Southeastern provides you with the software programs you need to accomplish these requirements. The links below will take you to the sites with all the information you need.
- Gmail - Southeastern's official Webmail system. University policy requires you to use your Southeastern Gmail account for all university related correspondence.
- Office 365 ProPlus is provided to all students through a self-sign up process:
- Google Drive (Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms): All apps can be found by logging into your Southeastern Gmail account.
3. Master Moodle: Southeastern's Learning Management System
Most of your online courses will be taught via Moodle. Course assignments, assessments, forums, and grades are just some of the elements found in Moodle. For more information about Moodle, including how to login, consult the information provided by the Student Technology Center. The Student Technology Center offers an online Moodle training course. You should have a full understanding of Moodle before the semester begins.
4. Prepare Your Virtual Classroom
Quiet, Orderly and Free of Distractions. Creating a comfortable, dedicated space for your online learning experience has proven to be critical to your success. Cell phones, televisions, family, and friends tend not to mix well with your online course! Take time before the semester begins to position your webcam in such a way that it reflects the background you intend. Google Meet and Zoom also allow you to add virtual backgrounds, thus eliminating exposure to your private space. Treat your dedicated space like a classroom, and you'll have a more productive learning environment!
A Note About Your Virtual Class: Focus, focus, focus! Don't check your social media, surf the web or check your phone, or you will become distracted and miss important information.
Also consider leaving your webcam on at all times. This helps you visually connect with others in the class and encourages you to pay attention and engage in class discussions. It also allows your instructor to get to know you!
5. Be Deliberate About Scheduling Your Time
The ability to manage time wisely and be a self-directed learner are two of the most important characteristics of successful online learners. Most online learners will tell you that the time commitment is much greater than a traditional, on-campus course. It is important to establish a schedule for reviewing class notes and materials, completing readings and assignments, studying for exams and quizzes, and participating in forums or online discussions. Create a study plan and establish a routine to maximize your success. Procrastination is not your friend! Don't let the flexibility of an online course distract you from planning the tasks necessary to your success.
- Google Calendar - Create your schedule, organize your time, and keep track of your assignments and deadlines with this feature. It is an App that is located in your Southeastern Gmail account.
6. Commit to Communicating
Unlike a traditional classroom, your instructor may not know when you have a question or don't understand something. You must be persistent and deliberate about communicating your needs in a way you may have never done before. Establishing relationships with your instructor and other members of the class can provide valuable support and assistance throughout the course. Your instructor holds virtual office hours and is always available by appointment. Gmail, Moodle Forums, Google Chat, and Apps like GroupMe provide platforms for electronic communication. Videoconferencing tools like Google Meet and Zoom may be used for real time, virtual meetings. Consistent communication throughout the course helps you stay on track and ensures that you are grasping the goals and objectives of the course. Regular communication can eliminate feelings of isolation, increase your motivation and provide a more enriching course experience.
- A Note About Written Communication: Remember to write in complete, grammatically correct sentences, and address your instructor respectfully (Dr. Cruz, Ms. Weber, Mr. Russo).
7. Get Real About Reading and Writing
Much of the work you'll do in an online course will involve independent reading and writing assignments. The traditional lecture may be replaced with reading, and some traditional class discussions may be replaced with writing. Depending upon your reading comprehension and writing abilities, you may need to plan for extra time to complete these requirements. You can expect to spend a great deal of time reading e-learning textbooks and online documents, as well as writing papers of varying lengths. Southeastern offers exceptional resources should you need assistance.
8. Remember to Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of your physical and mental health is always important. But, the demands of the online learning environment can be especially stressful. It's important to practice the stress reduction strategies that work best for you. Only you know what those are. However, since online courses require so much sitting, it is always recommended that you take regular breaks and move your body. And, spending time outdoors and breathing fresh air has been found to help you relax and clear your thoughts. Doing those things that rejuvenate you can prove very beneficial to your overall success.....and health! If you need more information or require more assistance, please contact our Centers.