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How to Be a Successful Online Student

Student smiling while working at a laptop

Steps to Succeed in Online Courses

Following the steps below will help students succeed in Virtual Virginia courses:

  1. Be self-motivated and self-disciplined. Freedom and flexibility requires responsibility. You should take ownership of the learning process and stay organized and on task. Successful online students are independent!
  2. Ask for help when necessary. Many of the nonverbal cues that instructors use in a physical classroom are not visible in an online class. If you have issues with the technology or the course content, you must communicate this concern immediately.
  3. Read and write at grade level, and communicate effectively through writing. In a virtual classroom, most communication is written, so it is critical that you feel comfortable expressing yourself in writing. In addition, you should be able to comprehend grade-level content materials.
  4. Meet the requirements of the program. Online courses are flexible and convenient—but that does not mean they are easy. Online courses offer the same content and rigor as courses in a physical classroom setting.
  5. Have regular, daily access to a computer with internet connectivity. The online course and its activities and assessments are all accessed and completed via the internet. Therefore, you must have access to a reliable internet connection throughout the academic year. Basic computer skills are essential.

Daily To-Do List of a Successful Online Student

Completing the following tasks daily will help students be more successful in online courses:

Student wearing headphones and using a laptop
  • During the academic year, it is important to log in to your course Monday through Friday (and over the weekend to get ahead) to check news items, emails, due dates, and course updates.
  • Communicate with your instructor when you need assistance. Know your instructor’s student support hours.
  • Avoid missing an assignment due date listed in your course calendar, as it will be recorded as a zero when the deadline is missed.
  • Avoid late work penalties by completing work prior to the due dates listed in the course calendar.
  • Plan to spend time on your course during and after school.
  • Spend time reading, studying, and self-learning, and allow
    more time for difficult concepts.
  • Work ahead on assignments (starting them days before the due dates) to allow time for questions and responses from your instructor. Working on assignments last-minute does not allow much time for help if needed.
  • Respect deadlines. This is a real course and cannot be completed at your convenience. Yes, you have freedom each day as to when you work on it, but your course will have set deadlines each week.
  • Follow the pace set in the course by your instructor, as it is designed to lead you to effectively learn the material. Avoid jumping around, clicking through items out of order, and working too fast just to get something done.
  • There are no weather-related closings for Virtual Virginia, regardless of your local school’s weather policy. Communicate with your instructor and keep up with course deadlines.
  • Participate in live sessions when scheduled and be actively engaged in the discussions.
  • Return emails and phone calls from your instructor in a timely manner.
  • Do not share work with other students, copy work, or participate in activities that could jeopardize your learning and success in this course.
  • Work hard to learn the material and not just to make an A. Working only to earn a grade can lead to a gap in your overall understanding of the material.