Online learning is a convenient and enjoyable educational option for anyone who finds their days full. The key to being a successful online learner is in establishing yourself as a member of the online learning community you are a part of. Setting aside five hours each week for learning will help you achieve your goals. How do you develop this role of an online learner? Through time management, active participation, patience and persistence.

1. Time Management

Time management is central to success in each aspect of our lives. For taking classes online, you must make sure to budget for

  • Learning the layout of the online classroom.
  • Reading the discussion board postings, assigned readings, online lectures, instructor contributions and updates
  • planning, composing, and posting discussion contributions and any other homework the course requires
  • taking the weekly quizzes.
  • communicating with the instructors as needed
  • Murphy’s law. Having a Plan B to complete the assigned work will come in handy when work runs late, a family member needs the computer, or any other emergency arises.

2. Active Participation in an Online Class Has Some Similarities to a Traditional Classroom

  • share your ideas, experience and methods on the discussion boards
  • ask questions if you do not understand a concept, set of instructions, or to clarify your interpretation of the resources provided in the homework
  • utilize all the resources you are given

Unique features to the online learning environment

  • Checking into class several times throughout the week to keep up to date on new resources or postings from the teacher
  • Reading new discussion posts and responding to those that interest you
  • Being self-motivated to carry out all that is required of you

3. Patience and Persistence Take You to the Finish Line

  • Patience with technology. Do you have a reliable computer or other electronic devices to access the course and materials? Maybe a family member or a friend can give you a loaner if need be.
  • Internet connection. If yours goes down, have a backup plan. I access our classrooms through my phone. I’d prefer a computer, but a phone can work in a pinch.
  • Patience for others. In any community opposing viewpoints are as common as any. Respectful discussion is encouraged.
  • Patience with your instructor(s). Our teachers are working professionals. You may have to wait 24-48 hours for a quality response.
  • Patience with yourself. In time you will develop your own schedule, methods for participating, learning, and applying this new information.

Learning online is fun, active, and best of all, on your time. Enjoy the experience and let us know if we can help.

Contact Lisa Thibodeaux at

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