Part 2: Orientation for Online Students

Student Success Tools

Time Management

How much time should be devoted to an online class?

One of the key benefits of online learning is that you can create your own schedule, work at your own pace, and accomplish your course work when it works best for your individual needs, within the general weekly schedule the professor creates. Students are often surprised, though, by the amount of time it may take to successfully complete an online course.

Harper’s guideline is that there should be at least three hours each week of studying for every one credit hour. (If this is the first time you are taking an online course, it may require additional time to become acclimated to the learning environment.) For example:  In a three credit hour course, that runs for 16 weeks, you should expect to budget at least nine hours each week for completing course work.

  • Make study time a priority in your schedule. Create a calendar of events for when you will need to study during the week to successfully complete course work on time.
  • Try to plan and work ahead to eliminate any stress you may have before course due dates.
  • For additional time management assistance, you may refer to Student Success Services.

Student Success in Online Learning

  • Review your basic computer skills.
    Some basic skills may include knowing how to create and save documents, organize files and folders on storage devices, perform basic Internet searches, and send email messages.
  • Prepare yourself, with accurate expectations, before the course starts.
    Review the Blackboard learning management system when the course material is made available by the instructor. Be sure to purchase the textbook(s), read the syllabus, and become familiar with the Blackboard course content as early as possible.
  • Stay organized and manage your time wisely.
    Organize your course information to help you study efficiently to achieve your goals.
  • Communicate regularly online with peers and with the instructor.
    Be self-motivated to ask questions and for assistance when necessary.
  • Develop an alternate computer usage plan in case technical problems (hardware or software) arise during the semester.

Student Resources

Here are some campus resources that may assist you:

Student Readiness Survey

Answer these 10 questions offered to help you assess if an online learning format is a good match for you. Each question will provide you with helpful feedback according to your specific answer. Take the Survey.

Blackboard Assistance

New to using Blackboard? These video-based, Blackboard online tutorials may be of assistance to you.

For additional technical support visit Harper’s Student Tech Support Services.


Congratulations! Well done reviewing this Orientation for Online Students. Continue to be proactive by being familiar with available resources to stay engaged in your course environment. Always remember, if you have a question, feel free to ask.

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