Five Skills for Online Student Success

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image of Tresa Dusaj

By Tresa Kaur Dusaj, PhD, RN-BC, CNE, CHSE, CTN-A
Faculty Program Director

The online student is typically an adult learner with many other roles and responsibilities. Organization, time management, and study skills are important to the success of these learners in online education. Here are five tips for success in the online environment:


  1. Organize your Desk: Organize your work space into an area that you can be successful and productive in. Your desk should be free of clutter; only keep out the essentials for studying such as textbooks, notes, pens and sticky notes.image of a desk
  2. Get Rid of Electronic Distractions: When working in your online course, close all extra tabs or browser windows. Close chat programs, mail programs, and other programs with contain pop-ups that will interrupt your work in the online classroom.
  3. Plan it Out: Use an online or paper calendar to best manage your time and outside obligations. (I find an online calendar easier to use for the synchronization feature and reminder pop-ups.) Place in deadlines for assignments from the course syllabus as well as planning time for those assignments. Include studying time, discussion posts reply reminders, and module time in the calendar.
  4. Take Notes: It is always helpful to take notes during your online modules, from readings, and from the discussion posts. Not every course will have quizzes, but typing your notes (writing things down) help you remember them. For example, you may want to remember something your instructor said on the discussion board to help assist you in writing a paper.
  5. Ergonomics: Remember to take breaks. Get up from your chair to stretch. Relax your eyes and body to energize yourself for those long days and nights. When using a keyboard and mouse, use wrist resting devices. Also, keep the screen at eye level. Keep your feet flat on the floor and try your best to sit up straight.

Image credit: Dorling Kindersley / Universal Images Group