Strategies for Online Learning Success

Today, many students enjoy the convenience of online courses for the flexible times, freedom, and independence. Online Education at SSU is onboard. Our online platforms afford students the opportunity to take courses strictly online or in a hybrid format. Below are strategies for succeeding online. Students can also find more information on the SSU Online Experience on our FAQ or Hints/Tips page.

Is online right for me?

Students who are organized and enjoy working on a computer do well online. You must be able to work well independently and have the internal drive to succeed. You are ultimately responsible for your own success.

  • Effective time management
  • Learn how to deal with technical problems: mentor, helpdesk, professor
  • Use your method for keeping track of work, whether it's electronic or you still make use of notebooks or folders
  • Communicate (Rules of Netiquette) in a formal manner as much as possible

Online learning courses are subject to the same policies as stated in the University Catalog, which includes policies against plagiarism.

Tiger Netiquette

Even though online provides easy, quick methods for communicating, there are still rules to follow and the most successful students adhere to the rules. Following the rules enables students to compose messages, posts, and papers that are easy to read and grade.

  • Be formal or as formal as possible
  • Use capitalization and punctuation properly
  • Avoid vague words, jargon, and profanity; be careful with sarcasm
  • Limit or eliminate the use of exclamation points, bolding, excessive capital letters, and emoticons
  • Change subject lines of email chains regularly
  • Plan carefully whom to CC on messages
  • Proofread and edit meticulously

First Online Course

  • You must have a reliable computer (Check your technology) and reliable access to the Internet
  • Commit to working hard, adhering to deadlines, and consistent communications
  • Patience: online communications often take time due to busy schedules
  • Know how to navigate websites, manage your email, and work with files
  • Locate a quiet, relatively secure work space
  • Explain how online works to family and friends so they respect your time to work

Tiger Technology

For success in any SSU online course, we recommend that you have:

  • A Windows or Macintosh computer with at least 2 GB of RAM
  • A computer capable of running current versions of Acrobat Reader, Flash, Java, Windows Media Player, QuickTime, and Real Media Player
  • Sufficient hard disk space for the installation of any new software necessary and the storage of your class work
  • Fast and reliable broadband internet connection
  • An operating system and browser compatible with Brightspace on the eLearning portal. See here for a list of supported browsers and operating systems.
  • An SSU email username and password
  • A large screen for better visibility (optional)
  • Speakers or headphones and a microphone
  • Any other technical requirements outlined in your course syllabus (for example, some courses may use a Learning Management System other than Blackboard or may require specific hardware/software)

Note: If you are using an employer-provided computer or corporate office for class attendance, please verify with your systems administrators that you will be able to install the necessary applications and that system or corporate firewalls do not block access to any sites or media types.

Tiger Communications Online

Research suggests that a best practice for success in online courses is to maintain open communications with the professor and classmates. Similar to a face-to-face class, the students who participate more often receive higher scores. As such, in an online course, that level of participation is achieved by communicating in writing. Learn how to construct your ideas clearly and take a genuine interest in the perspectives and arguments posed by your classmates. When you receive a response, always try to respond in kind.

A successful online student will actively stay connected using:

  • discussion boards
  • small group work
  • research sharing
  • peer reviews

Listen to what a college student mentor has to say about the importance of a social presence for success in online courses.

Work Ethic is important

  • Schedule daily, productive engagement time to complete assignments
  • Read the course material and take notes
  • Participate as much as you can
  • Seek help early and often if needed
  • Produce quality work; proofread and edit your discussion posts and submissions.

Learn how to succeed online

  • Logging in
  • Access the syllabus and preview assignments
  • Read the course calendar and note due dates
  • Locate the dropbox and learn how to submit assignments
  • Respond to all Discussion topics and learn how to respond to classmates' posts
  • Check your Grades and keep score

Throw in everyday distractions typical for an online student-full-time jobs, kids, family activities-and the work can easily pile up. Time Management Planning and Tips for Managing Your Time can help you stay ahead of the game.

Stay linked with SSU

Deadlines, policies, and support services are the same for online and campus-based students. The University will occasionally reach out to you with information that requires your immediate attention, so be sure to check and read your SSU emails. Successful students understand that it is their responsibility to stay informed and many find helpful information on the Student Resource page and the links listed below:

Student Resources
Deadlines & Polices Services
Academic Integrity

Office of Disability Services (ODS)
Online Writing Lab