Smart strategies for online learning

New to online learning? No problem. Here are some tips to succeed in an online course.

Stay engaged!

You are not alone!  You will be able to communicate with your fellow students and your instructor through email, discussion and possibly even web conferencing. Your instructor will post instructions for the available and recommended communication tools. Collaboration is a large component of most online classes. Collaboration is a proven strategy to improve learning. Your participation in class communications will be key to your success!

Take care of yourself

Stay healthy by getting adequate rest, nutrition and exercise. Keep a growth mindset as you adapt to new circumstances. Your success has as much to do with your effort as it has to do with your ability.

Monitor your self-talk and stay positive.

Find resources and tips on physical health, mental health and general wellbeing from the Counseling & Testing Center.

Stay organized!

Take the time to put together the schedule and expectations for each of your classes. Check Brightspace for your syllabus.

Prioritize your work. What due dates are coming up first? Make a smart decision about how to best spend your time. As best you can, create a schedule for yourself all of your course study goals and due dates.

Learn how to manage your time better! 

The instructor may post new content every week, and you may have activities to complete. How will you do that?  When? You have more freedom to plan, but also more responsibility to remember to plan. Look at your calendar and add your online course hours to your calendar every week. 

Team up with your friends and classmates

Find ways to connect with your friends and classmates to help each other stay accountable for getting your work completed. Find ways to meet with student groups online in WhatsApp, Facebook groups, GroupMe, Microsoft Teams, or the communication tool that works best for your group. For student access to Microsoft Office 365, see

Manage your environment

Find a space that is comfortable and allows you to focus. This can be your home base for coursework.

Consider using the "Do Not Disturb" function on your phone or computer as if you were in class on campus. 
Learn how to study better here!

Technical support is available

The Information Technology support desk, or 330-972-6888, can try to help you resolve any computer problems.

How do you know whether to contact the Support Center or your instructor? 

  • If you need help with the course subject matter such as writing a paper, contact your instructor. 
  • If you need help submitting the paper you wrote to that instructor, or you cannot log in, contact the IT Support desk. 

In some cases, you may need to contact a software vendor for the best technical support. For more information, check out learning resources.

Completing activities and assignments

To safeguard your privacy, make sure you use your official Akron email to communicate with your instructor. 

Always check your syllabus and communicate with your instructor, but here are common ways you may submit assignments: 

  • Essay assignments are usually submitted to a designated assignment folder in Brightspace.   
  • Quizzes: you may be required to take a timed online quiz or exam within a specific testing window. Online quizzes may include a variety of question types such as multiple choice, true or false, essay, fill-in-the-blank. When taking an online quiz, be sure to allow sufficient time to complete the quiz before the testing window ends - any open quiz will be submitted automatically at the cutoff time. 
  • Use Discussion Forums to ask questions. You may also use these to complete graded activities. Discussions are often used to replace an in-class conversation, so your instructor will often expect that you have read all of the posts there.
  • Presentations may be done either by submitting your presentation into an Assignment folder, by posting a link to a Discussion, or by participating in a web conferencing session online with the rest of your class. 

You may need to practice more patience!

Possibly one of the most important tips to remember is that we are all adjusting, and we will need to practice patience. Remember that online instructors are not able to monitor their virtual classroom 24 hours per day. Be patient when you ask a question of your instructor. A reasonable response time is up to 48 hours, depending on when you ask (e.g. weekday or weekend), and the nature of your question. Your instructors will most likely post information in the course or the syllabus indicating the best times and contact methods. Remember tip #1 here too. There are other students in your class. Your instructor may provide a mechanism such as a discussion forum that you can use to ask a question. 

You have access to ALL University resources

You can use the tutoring services, the library, the writing lab, the Office of Accessibility and the academic advisement center. Academic Support provides links to all the academic support resources available.