Succeeding in onlilne education


Succeeding in an on-line course is no different than succeeding in a face-to-face classroom.


You still must:

  • Focus your attention
  • Be organized
  • Use your time wisely
  • Take responsibility for your learning
  • Be self-directed
  • Be willing to work and participate
  • Communicate effectively


Today's courses are making a shift from the passive learner model, where the student sits quietly in the classroom to the active learner model, where students interact and collaborate with one another. What does this mean for you? - Participation is essential for everyone involved.


Tips on Time Management


What we know from research is that there is usually an adjustment period for most students as they learn the rhythm and patterns of on-line communication. Here are some tips for getting comfortable:

  • Do take time to review the available help files and documentation.
  • Do spend some time just navigating your way through the class; learn the functions of the buttons on your screen.
  • Do manage your time. You'll find that your time management skills will be critical in an on-line class. It's very easy to spend either far too little time or far too much time on the class. Set designated blocks of time to work on the class. This will help you stay up with the assignments and with the interaction required in most on-line classes.
  • Download or print out pages for reference and review when you're off-line.
  • Set priorities and pay close attention to what your instructor says about priorities.
  • Ask for help right away if something isn't going right, whether it's a technical issue or something to do with the course content.


Getting Started With a New Course


Spending some in the first week familiarizing yourself with the course and course components can save you time later on. Here are some tips to assist you with this:

  • Read any documentation sent to you (introductory letters, notes on logons and passwords, user manuals etc) before doing anything.
  • Read the course outline during the first week. Pay particular attention to assignment due dates. Mark these on your calendar.
  • Find out how to get in touch with your instructor. What is his/her e-mail address?
  • Remember, if you have questions about the course or course content contact your instructor.
  • Quickly scan your text, manual or any reading materials. Are there questions or quizzes at the end of each chapter? How could these help you when you start studying for a test or exam?
  • Find out the structure of the course. Do you have self-tests to complete? Are you expected to participate in conferences? How much participation is expected? Is participation graded and what are the criteria?


If the course has on-line components:

  • Do all first week (or orientation) activities. These are designed to help you familiarize yourself with the technology and get to know others in the class.
  • Go to all sections (icons) of your course and find out how each of these work. This will save you time in the future.
  • Learn how to post to the discussion area, send an email, or send an assignment.


On-line Communication and Communities


As always, effective communication is critical to success. It's even more important in the on-line environment because your instructor and the other class members can't see your frown, or hear the question in your voice. Here you'll be responsible for initiating contact, asking for help when needed, and sharing information with others. This communication is essential to forming an on-line community where students learn best.


In this new on-line community, you no longer have all those non-verbal cues that you get in the physical classroom. What you still have,however, is the practice of courtesy and respect that apply in all classrooms. Here are some guidelines:

  • Participate.
    In the on-line environment, it's not enough to show up! We need to hear your voice and to feel your presence. Your comments add to the information, the shared learning experience, and the sense of community in each class.
  • Be persistent.
    Remember that we're all working in a fairly new environment. If you run into any difficulties, don't hesitate! Send a note to your instructor immediately. Most problems are easily solved but we must hear from you before we can help.
  • Share tips, help, and questions.
    For many of us, taking on-line courses is a new frontier. There are no dumb questions! Even if you think your solution is obvious, please share it-someone will appreciate it.
  • Think before you push the Send button.
    Did you say just what you meant? How will the person on the other end read the words? While you can't anticipate all reactions, do read over what you've written before you send it.


Remember that we can't see your reactions. We can't see the grin on your face when you make a sarcastic comment. We can't see the concern on your face if you only say a couple of words. We also can't read your mind and fill in the gaps if you abbreviate your comments. You must be clear and concise when communicating on-line. Explain your ideas fully.



VetMedTeam is fully committed to helping all our students succeed. Don't ever hesitate to contact your course instructor. In addition, you can reach the administrative staff of VetMedTeam at anytime you need our assistance.