Tips for Success Online

Take the Online Learning Readiness Self-Assessment.

Before enrolling in an online or hybrid course, take the Online Learning Readiness Self-Assessment. This self-assessment will help you determine if online or hybrid courses are a good fit for you. Answer the assessment questions, and you will be given recommendations for success in online learning at Texas State. 

Ask for help.

If you need help with course content, ask your instructor for assistance. If you experience technical problems with your computer, contact the HELP Desk at 512.245.ITAC (4822). If you experience problems logging onto Canvas, contact Instructional Technologies Support at or telephone 512.245.5566.

Be prepared to use technology.

Whether you're using a computer to create files, open e-mail attachments, download a software program, navigate the Internet, or use Texas State's Canvas course management system, be prepared to know how to use the technology every time you enroll in an online class. If you are unfamiliar with the technology, plan on learning how to use it on your own.

Manage your time wisely.

Online courses are typically just as time intensive as traditional courses. In fact, many students claim that online courses require more time and commitment. Because you may not be required to attend any regularly scheduled classes on campus, you must schedule your own time wisely in order to succeed in online classes. Time management requires you to be self-motivated and self-disciplined. Students should expect to invest a minimum of two hours of additional work for each hour of classroom or faculty instruction per week. For example, a three-hour credit course will require at least six hours of outside work, which often includes reading, studying, writing, conducting research, completing homework assignments, responding to discussion boards, meeting virtually in groups, and other learning activities. Visit Policies and Procedure for information on how credit hours are calculated at Texas State. Falling behind in this course is particularly problematic because the concepts covered are cumulative. This means that not becoming proficient with information and objectives presented and assessed in a particular week can lead to low scores for that week as well as in subsequent weeks.

Communicate frequently.

Online classes require students to be good communicators. You communicate often with your instructor and classmates, but it will almost always be done in writing — using e-mail, discussion boards, and chat rooms — and sometimes working in virtual teams. For more information on communicating and interacting online, visit our Interacting Online webpage.

Online courses require your active participation.

  • In discussion forums, you learn from one another by posing questions, justifying your comments, and providing multiple perspectives. When you prepare for discussions through thoughtful reflection, you contribute to your own successful learning experience as well as to the experience of your peers.
  • Log in to the course frequently (at least several times per week for long semesters and daily for summer sessions) and check the announcements. This will keep you apprised of any course updates, progress in discussions, assignment information, and messages requiring immediate attention.
  • Be aware of and keep up with the course schedule in the syllabus.
  • Participate in team activities to the best of your ability. How well your team does—and how well you do—depends on all the team members working cooperatively.

Read the course information and expectations thoroughly.

You will receive your online course announcements, assignments, deadlines, syllabi, etc. as text-based reading materials. Read all of your online materials carefully and regularly so that you understand the course requirements and stay current with course updates. Mark your calendar with due dates and set-aside time each week to study and work on learning activities. 

Online may be convenient but not easier.

Online courses often provide students with great flexibility and freedom when completing course requirements. However, the academic quality and learning outcomes of online courses are equal to campus-based courses. Students often have to adjust to the flexibility, which is the reason we strongly encourage you to take the online assessment noted in Tip #1. 

Be ready to start class on time.

Be ready to start your class on time by having the hardware and software to succeed. Contact your online instructor for specific hardware and software that may be required to succeed in the online class.

Contact ODEL.

Distance learners often face challenges that are different from on-campus students, and ODEL understands that students may need assistance from time to time. ODEL can help connect distance learning students to resources that will help them succeed academically, professionally, and personally here at Texas State University. If you are experiencing any difficulties during your time here as a distance learning student, please contact ODEL at 512.245.2322 and our Student Development Specialist II will work on connecting you with the resources you need.

Provide feedback.

One of the best ways to find out how to improve a course is to ask you, the student, for feedback. Toward this end, you will be asked to fill out a survey that asks about your reactions to the course content and features and invites your suggestions for improving the course. In addition, be sure to report any problems you encounter with the course (including everything from unclear material to spelling errors).