Things to Consider While Taking an Online Class

Do I have basic computer skills? 

Computer literacy includes, but is not limited to, the following skills:  downloading, printing, unzipping files, blocking pop-ups, saving and uploading and attaching documents, e-mailing, navigating the web, operating Windows, utilizing Office 365, and using netiquette. 

Do I have reliable and consistent access to a computer and the Internet?  Do I have a back-up plan should these malfunction? 

Students should have strong, reliable Internet access.  Instructors will not accept computer malfunction as an excuse for late work, so students should have access to another computer and alternate Internet access in case their primary computer fails. There are computers available on campus in Academic Commons.  All technology concerns should be directed to the UACCM Help Center: Library Complex Room 103, 501-208-5312,

Does my computer meet the minimum technology requirements?

Devices can be PCs or Macs and must have a keyboard and webcam. Chromebooks, tablets, and other mobile devices do not meet course requirements.

Will I take responsibility to learn to use Blackboard?

Students have several training options to help them become familiar with Blackboard: the sample course on the Blackboard Community page, the Help icon in every Blackboard course shell, or the Blackboard instructional channel.

Am I able to learn from reading material without always having an audio and/or video lecture?

Some online courses require more reading than traditional courses because the information presented in assigned reading is not always reinforced by a lecture. Online courses may not be the best option for students who struggle with reading comprehension.

Do I understand that online courses often require more time management skills than traditional courses?

Students in an online course will spend the hours they would be in a traditional class reading and studying material on Blackboard. Students should expect to spend an additional two to three hours per credit hour working on assignments and studying to be successful.  Therefore, students should spend approximately 9-12 hours per week on a three-hour, online course. 

Manage your time wisely

Access your course on day one of the semester.  Keeping track of due dates, updates, and grades is much easier if you are present in the online course often. Avoid waiting until the due date to try to do a week (or more) worth of work.  Schedule regular times during the week to work on the course just as you would if you were in a tradition classroom.


Most instructors will require posts to the discussion forum. Interacting with classmates makes the class more fun and the material more understandable.  Shy students may feel more comfortable participating in an online format.  Sometimes, a classmate may be able to answer a question for you more quickly or give you a different perspective on the material.    

Communicate with the instructor

Instructors are there to help you succeed and are present in online courses.  Don’t hesitate to email, call, or stop by an instructor’s office hours if you need help or have questions.  Be sure to read and apply any feedback the instructor gives you. Make sure you always communicate through your campus email and always include a subject line.

Use additional resources

Academic Commons can provide help with research and computer skills.  Additionally, there are free tutors to assist students with math and writing assignments. Read and re-read the syllabus. Use the calendar and course outline.


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