Becoming a successful online learner
A prepared student is a successful student!
Online learning courses are challenging. Do not buy into the myth that online learning courses are easier or take up less time than traditional courses!
- Before you register
- Logging into the course
- Course preparation
- Get your course materials early
- Viewing videos
- Schedule regular study periods
- Keep in touch with your professor
- Be prepared for technical failure
- Be realistic in your endeavor
- Additional resources for success
Before you register for an online learning course, make sure you have access to a decent computer with reliable Internet access. If you are going to use campus equipment to participate in an online learning course, be sure you have the time in your personal schedule to be on campus when available computer labs and/or the library is open. You are encouraged to contact the professor of the course you're interested in to discuss course expectations and your prospects for successful course completion.
The amount of time you spend on an online learning course may depend on how much of the course is online. In a true Web-based course for three college credits (100% online) expect to spend three hours per credit hour per course online or doing course related work. For a three credit hour course, you can expect to spend 9 - 15 hours per week on the course. While those hours can be anytime during a given week, it is important to understand that Buffalo State for academic credit online learning courses are NOT self paced. All courses have a start date (first day of the regular semester) and an end date (last day of the regular semester) and all have due dates, assignments or exams that must be completed on time or you may risk losing points on your course work.
Consider all of your other time commitments. A true Web-based course takes as much time as an on campus class.
Consider taking this self evaluation of your online learning readiness: Online Coursework Readiness Checklist. This link is from Monroe Community College; after finding out your online course readiness, you must close the tab/window to return to this web site.
Blackboard uses the same username and password used to logon to campus computers. If you do not know this, you can look up the username online or contact the Computing Help Desk for assistance. Many classes have minimum log in and participation requirements. If you feel you cannot effectively participate in your online learning course, you should speak to your professor or advisor about dropping or withdrawing from the course by the appropriate date. Keep in mind, you must do this in accordance with Buffalo State's guidelines and deadlines.
Please be sure to carefully read the syllabus of your course. Some courses may require you to have access to certain software programs or a certain level of web access. Please see Computer Requirements and Troubleshooting Tips for Blackboard to be sure you meet the minimum level of technology requirements. If you do not, it may affect your ability to participate in the course.
Familiarize yourself with Blackboard, our course management system, by using the available orientation tools and student resources provided. The online student orientation to Blackboard is linked off the main Blackboard log in screen. The link is named SLN Student Orientation. Many course sites on Blackboard contain student help documentation also. This online help includes tutorials and an overview on how to use all of the Blackboard's available features. Please understand that technical support for home or personal equipment is not available. If you cannot connect to the Internet, you need to contact your Internet Service Provider (whoever you use to access the Internet, such as Time Warner or Verizon). If your computer is malfunctioning, you should call your computer's manufacturer.
Order your textbooks and course materials early from the Barnes & Noble bookstore: http://buffalostate.bkstore.com/
Your course may include videos.
PC users must have a recent version of Windows Media Player
Mac users must have a recent version of QuickTime Player and Flip4M. Please Note Mac users will not be able to access copyright videos.
These videos may be created by your instructor or by other content developers. If your videos are copyright protected, please remember that this material is presented for use by enrolled students in this course. Further reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited.
Any copyright videos that are being using in your course, are password protected. When you access these videos from Blackboard, a log on box will appear. You will need to put in your Buffalo State username with bsclogon\ preceeding your username as seen below.
Please Note Mac users will not be able to access copyright videos.
For copyright be sure to put bsclogon\ before your username when the Enter Network Password box appears.
- Clear your cache and temporary Internet files - Directions on how to do this can be found at: http://buffalostate.edu/cts/x932.xml
- If you get a message that says: Do you want to allow this website to open a program on your computer? Click Allow
- If you are using VISTA and receive the message: Do you want to view only the webpage content that was delivered securely? Click NO
If you don't set aside a specific study time chances are you will fall behind quickly. Select and use the same area if possible, away from distractions. Study short and often. Your brain takes in information faster and retains it better if you do not try to overload it. Decide what your best time is and try to schedule your study time accordingly.
Via phone or e-mail, or if possible, arrange for an on campus office visit. Ask your professor at various points in the semester how you are progressing. Do not be afraid to ask for instructional assistance and do not wait until the semester is almost over to seek help. Make sure to evaluate your own progress regularly by going over the course objectives and goals.
If you are disconnected from the Internet you may lose your work. Type and save all writing assignments into a word processor, such as Microsoft Word or Word Pad. If you have Microsoft Works, and your professor does not, you may not be able to share files. Get into the habit of converting files to Rich Text Format (.rtf).
By saving all your work in a word processor, you have the capability to copy and paste your text or to attach the document to an e-mail message. It is also good practice to print out all your assignments and completed quizzes for off-line access, for use as study guides, and as a backup.
Online learning courses are mostly reading and writing. For many, it is easier to listen and to talk than it is to read and to communicate solely in writing. If you do not have basic computer skills and excellent studying skills, an online learning course can be an unpleasant experience.
Remember - do not fall behind in your work! Keep reminding yourself that you will always have more to do near the end of a course than at the beginning.
The following links lead to other institution's tips for success pages: