While the online classroom shares many similarities with the face-to-face classroom, success in online education requires certain skills and knowledge that any dedicated student can learn. This page overviews tips and resources for successful online learning.
General Tips & Skills
- Be wary of the myth or assumption that online classes are easier than face-to-face classes. Online classes regardless of content or design require strong time management skills, excellent reading comprehension (as online courses are often text-based), an openness to technology and learning new technologies, and independent learning skills.
- Be aware of the differences between face-to-face and online communication. See our webpage, “Online Communication Tips” for tips and resources.
- UNT uses EagleConnect, the official email system for students and alumni. This ensures student privacy and FERPA compliance.
- Keep in mind that most instructors are sympathetic to technology difficulties with online courses, but it is your responsibility as an online student to follow correct procedures for reporting technical difficulties and providing evidence of said difficulties.
- If you want to learn more about whether or not online education is for you, take this quiz.
- Ensure that your computer(s) meet the minimum technical requirements for using the university learning management system: Canvas technical requirements.
- Ensure that you have any other necessary software or hardware for the course, such as a headset/microphone, word processing software, etc. Often, this information can be found by reading the syllabus. If the course requires any software or hardware that may be unfamiliar to you, make sure you set aside some time to familiarize yourself with the tools.
- Read the entire syllabus for the class. This especially important for online courses where students may lack regular opportunities to engage face-to-face with an instructor about the course. Be sure to note and ask any questions you may have about the course right away after you read the syllabus.
- If you have accessibility needs, be sure to contact the Office of Disability Access as soon as possible and let your instructor know of any accessibility needs within the first week of class.
- Know your rights as a student, and your instructor’s rights.
- Create a folder on your computer or cloud-based system of your choice and name it with your course ID, such as COMM 1010. Save all your assignments in that folder. If your instructor does not have a specific file naming convention for assignments, use file names that will be clear to you. If you have to email a file to your instructor, include your course ID and last name in the file name. Example: smith_COMM1010_speechoutline.doc
Know Your Tech
- Know the contact information for the University Information Technology Student Helpdesk (UIT). UIT is a student’s first point of contact for any technical difficulties with UNT information technology. UIT provides assistance via telephone, email, and walk-ins. After contacting UIT, let your instructor know you are experiencing technical difficulties and include the UIT service ticket number in your email.
- Bookmark the UIT website for contact information, as well as information regarding frequently asked questions, the EagleConnect email system, and additional resources for undergraduate students and graduate students (such as free software downloads).
- You can also take the UIT Tech Tour which will familiarize you with all of UNT’s information technology services for students.
- Bookmark the online student guides for the university learning management system: Canvas Student Guide, and Canvas: Getting Started as a Student.
Always Have a Back-Up Plan
- Make sure you have a secure internet connection when submitting assignments and taking online exams.
- Have the UIT Helpdesk’s phone number on hand in the event of an internet outage.
- Know how to take a screenshot of your computer screen. Screenshots provide evidence in the event of technical difficulties and/or internet outages. You can capture notifications and messages, as well as time and date stamps on your computer with screenshots.
- Save copies of all of your assignments in your assigned course folder on your computer or cloud-based system.