Tips for surviving an online class

Every time I register for classes I tell myself “don’t pick an online class again,” yet every time a new semester starts I’m registered for an online class. And, it’s no different this time

From my many years of “online class-time,” I’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade and I want to share them with you. From one online student to another, this is how you survive an online class.


Read carefully

I don’t mean read your textbook (though I do recommend that as well), I mean read your syllabus, all messages your professor sends and any new announcements. If you don’t fully read your syllabus from the beginning of the class, you’re up a creek without a paddle. With an online class, you don’t get that first day of class “syllabus review speech” or hearing your professor make the same announcement three times for the students who text too much and don’t listen. You need to know when assignments are due, how many times you have to post in the discussion board and when tests are open—and if any of these change. Don’t ignore announcements or messages. They’re imperative to your success in the class—or your failure.


Keep a planner

My planner saves my life. If I don’t write something down, I don’t remember it and I have a feeling I’m not the only planner junkie at NSU. In addition to reading your syllabus, you should take note of when assignments, essays and discussion posts are due. You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute in an online class—that’s just laziness.  Also, you can even schedule in when to work on assignments so you have time for work and play—yes I’m that girl. But, in my defense, it keeps me sane.


Log on frequently

Some students love online classes because they don’t have to leave their bedroom to go to class. However, this lack of showing up sometimes translates to signing onto Blackboard once a week. This is not a smart choice if you actually want to pass the class. Your Blackboard is the only way your professor can communicate with you and if you rarely log on, you will rarely see new announcements or messages. You don’t want to miss the open hours of a test because you were too busy logging on to Facebook instead.


Use the Discussion Board

Because a professor doesn’t take roll like in a traditional class, the discussion board is how they keep track of who “shows up.” This is how you participate in the class. This is also a component of your final grade in every online class. If you understand that you need to post early in the week, more than once and longer than one sentence, you’re good to go for all future online classes. The more you post, both in frequency and length, the more likely your teacher will give you a good grade. And if you want to know a secret, it’s one of the easiest ways to ensure a good grade in an online class.


Email your professor 

I have only met one of the professors I had online, and that’s because I had her the next semester in a different class, but even though I didn’t see them I knew they were there to help. Make sure you know that when your “face-less” professor puts on their syllabus their email, office hours and location of their office; they want you to contact them. They’re still teaching you and willing to help if you’re struggling.

Online classes offer some great benefits for students, like the ability to do school work in your PJs with your hair a mess while eating cereal. However, just look lazy. Don’t become lazy in your actual school work. Even though you may never see what your professor looks like, they’re still giving you a grade.

And don’t forget to program 954-262-HELP into your phone. It’s NSU’s help line and you may need these computer experts when you’re in the middle of a test and it just stops working (I say that from experience).

Leave a Reply