Important Tips for Online Students

The following pointers will help you be successful — and enjoy — your online college courses.

Start off right.

Print and complete the following checklist before your class begins. It'll help you be prepared and feel confident in starting your course.

  • Check the technical requirements listed on the Technical Information page and be sure the computer you plan to use meets the requirements for online courses. If not, check out locations where you can use an appropriate computer, such as SPC campus computer labs or Information Commons, your local public library, or cybercafes in your area.
  • Read your course syllabus carefully and note all deadlines and due dates. Pay careful attention to any special instructions, guidelines or requirements your instructor provides.
  • Visit any course web pages your instructor advises you to read, then bookmark them (Firefox) or add them to your Favorites list (Internet Explorer) if you will need them later.
  • Spend some time at the beginning of the session exploring your course so you can navigate around in it easily. If you have problems, contact your instructor immediately.
  • Take a tour of SPC's Library Online, your desktop resource for online books, magazines, newspapers, catalogs, web directories and other reference tools. Bookmark the site to help you in your class work and research.
Advice from the pros: Keep up!

Experienced e-learners often give this advice: "Keep up with the work; don't get behind." Online courses require self-motivation and discipline, and it's important to give them the same dedication and effort that you would devote to courses on campus.

Some good ways to stay on top of your work are:

  • Pay close attention to deadlines and due dates; they're not negotiable. Only courses specifically labeled "self-paced" should be treated as such; otherwise, your work will need to be turned in on the schedule your instructor specifies.
  • Plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to complete your assignments and prepare for tests. Avoid procrastination!
  • Use the SPC Academic Calendar, the course calendar and the course assignments page to carefully map out your schedule, and then stick with it. If you have to arrange for Off-Site Testing, be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to do so.
  • Review your course syllabus from time to time, and stay in close contact with your instructor.
Know the rules

Like a traditional on-campus class, your online class is a community of students and faculty. Your classmates and instructor aren't "virtual"; they're real individuals you just can't see in person! So the same standards of courtesy, respect and consideration apply in the online environment as in the regular classroom. In some ways, those standards are even more important, because you can't rely on visual or vocal "cues" to convey your meaning or to help you interpret what others mean.

With that in mind, SPC has developed some guidelines for Online Student Conduct as well as a set of Expectations and Performance Targets for eCampus students, faculty and support staff. These are designed to ensure that each student's learning experience is positive and beneficial. Familiarizing yourself with these guidelines will enable you to participate more effectively and enjoyably in your online course.

Take advantage of eCampus Help/FAQ.

eCampus offers a wide range of resources to support you in your e-courses as well as your college and career planning. Explore what's available so you'll know where to go if you need assistance.

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