Getting ready to take your first online class? Whether it has been a while since you took a course or you are new to the online learning environment, taking a little time to prepare can go a long way in helping you succeed. From basic skills to advanced tools, this page brings together posts from our Inside Online Learning blog that feature tips, suggestions, and resources for making the most of your online learning experience.
Comparing the Options
Accreditation and Higher Education: What do you need to know?
Understand what it means for a school to be accredited and how to research the status of the online schools you are considering.
Choosing an Online Program
Use this checklist to compare similar online programs before making a decision to enroll.
How much?! Calculating the Cost of Online Education
Gather the information you need to estimate the cost of an online program and make informed decisions about what you can afford.
Navigating the Transfer Credit and Prior Learning Assessment Process
Find out more about how your past courses and experiences may apply toward your educational goals.
Finding an Online Course to Finish Your Degree
Tips for finding an online course that meets your needs and may also count toward your on-campus degree program.
Decoding Accreditation and the Online College
Steps for cross checking school or program accreditation status.
Preparing for Success
Are You Ready to be an Online Student?
Assess your skills before deciding to become an online learner.
Anatomy of an Online Course
The basic components you should locate when you first log in to a new course.
What are you learning? Competencies, Standards, and Outcomes
Read about the different types of learning goals used to build your online courses.
Culture of the Online College
Find a good fit by looking for evidence of your priorities and values.
Sticking with It
What are Your Expectations of Online Learning?
From course length to communicating with your instructor, a list of questions to help you explore online program options.
Going All In with Online Learning
Tips to help you focus your attention and dedicate the time required to reach your educational goals.
Staying the (Online) Course
Are you worried about completing your coursework? Tips to help you stay motivated.
New Literacies and Online Learning: Digital, Media, Visual
Being a successful online student requires a variety of skills related to working and learning in a digital environment.
Search Engine Savvy: Evaluating Websites
Consider the source! Take a closer look at your search results before you use them in your course.
6 Internet Safety Tips for Online Students
Advice for privacy settings, creating better passwords, and developing good habits.
Developing Digital Writing Skills
Learn how multiple universities are integrating new types of writing assignments that include an emphasis on critical thinking as well as use of multimedia.
The 7 C’s of Effective Communication in Your Online Course
Review these guidelines for connecting with your instructors and classmates in a professional way.
Time Management 101 for Online Students
Low- and no- cost skill-building options for online students who want to be better time managers.
10 Traits of a Successful Online Learner
Are you a self-starter? Do you adapt well to change? Assess yourself with these and other characteristics and habits of successful students.
Knowing “How it Works”
Take a Test Drive: Online Course Demos and Tours
Get some experience with online technologies and navigation by trying out the interface with sample courses.
Avoid these 10 Common Mistakes in Online Learning
Online students share similar questions and concerns – and make similar mistakes. Take action to put yourself on a positive path.
The Art of Online Course Selection
How do you pick your courses? Work with your advisor to set up a schedule that works for you.
On Becoming a First-Generation Grad Student
No matter the format, online or on campus, find the support you need to succeed.
What Can You Expect of Your Online Instructor?
Find out more about the many roles of an instructor in an online class.
Participating in Online Courses
A Survival Guide for Accelerated Online Courses
Advice for steps you can take before, during, and after a course to stay on track with a fast-paced schedule.
Starting a Virtual Study Group
A list of resources for establishing and conducting online study sessions with your peers.
Dos and Don’ts of Online Class Discussions
Threaded discussion boards can take practice. Understand your instructor’s perspective, then prepare, post, and provide feedback.
6 Content Curation Suggestions for Online Students
Use web-based tools to organize your academic research and enhance your study efforts.
Digital Scholarship and the Online Learner
Students today have access to more information and resources than previous generations. Learn how to become a digital scholar.
Making the Most of a MOOC
Find out more about participating in Massive Open Online Courses as a collaborative learning experience.
Online Student Verification: Is that you? Are you there?
Find out how online colleges ensure that the students enrolled in their courses are the ones doing the work.
Support Services & Resources
A Guide to FERPA for Online Students
An overview of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and examples of its potential impact on online students.
Finding online access to research materials and questions to get the conversation started with your school’s librarian.
Follow These Blogs! Online Student Edition
Stay current in your field of interest and expand your reading list beyond course assignments.
A Creative Commons Guide for Online Students
Find and use open materials in your courses. More about copyrights and licenses.
Making the Most of Your Virtual Career Center
Explore the valuable support services available for career development and the job search.
Critical Components of a Virtual College Campus
Add these stops to your virtual campus tour! Find out about the resources available to support your online studies.
Tools of the Trade
12 Tools for Online Collaboration
A list of web-based resources you can use to share, meet, and work with your online classmates
Google’s New Research Tool
Explore more efficient ways to compose and research your writing projects.
Don’t Just Google: Try Google Scholar
Go beyond Google’s basic functions to focus your search on scholarly publications appropriate for use in your courses.
An Online Student’s Guide to Twitter
Try out this social media tool as a way to stay current in your field, participate in learning events, and expand your network.
LinkedIn for Online Students
The basics of profile set-up, group discussions, and job search resources of this professional networking platform.
On the Horizon
Graduation for Online Students
Get ready to don your virtual cap and gown in these innovative alternatives to traditional ceremonies.
School Ties: Online Alumni Programs
Keep the learning and networking going even after graduation by connecting with your school’s alumni, and maybe even mentoring new students.
Should You Go to Graduate School?
Guidelines for evaluating your options as they relate to your education and career goals.
Should You Get a Master’s Degree?
Tips for deciding whether or not a master’s degree is right for you, with your goals and resources in mind.