10 Attributes of a Successful Online Student


This Infographic on the 10 Attributes of a Successful Online Student is by Cengage Learning and is based on Joel English’s, Plugged In: Succeeding as an Online Learner.

1. They believe in the process

Online students that adopt a positive attitude about their school, the distance education process, the faculty, and the courses they are taking are often more successful. They fully invest in the academic community.

2. They speak up

Whether seeking financial, grade and/or transcript information, understanding of materials within a course, or an introduction to the services, students should be aggressive about receiving the support they expect, and clearly communicate the resources they need.

3. They perfect their technical skills

If a student is not comfortable with their technological skills, he or she should reach out for computer training or tutoring. Students who lack confidence in their technical abilities tend to fall behind early in an online program.

4. They stay connected

Online students will have to maintain a reliable Internet Service Provider (ISP) and a dedicated workspace throughout their program.

5. They know their resources

Schools tend to offer student, career, and academic advising, library resources, and faculty members to support student success. Students should reach out to all of these personnel and know the policies and resources that are available to them.

6. They find their passion

Students should aim to choose a program that gives their life purpose, which will, in turn, find purpose in their coursework and assignments.

7. They actively participate

Online students should plan to be active in all discussions, not only with instructors, but also reading and responding to classmates.

8. They take breaks

Students should engage in coursework in “chunks” of time rather than in long stretches in front of the computer, with short breaks at least every hour.

9. They schedule their time

Online students should not let the convenience of an online course fool them into thinking that it requires less time than a traditional face-to-face course. Make sure they set a schedule for their work and they work within the schedule.

10. They communicate with others

Successful students take advantage of the opportunities to make new friends online and interact with staff and instructors. Schools should provide resources for them to join clubs, student interest groups, and social gatherings.

Here is a link to the PDF version of this infographic: http://www.cengagesites.com/sites/1094/13P-IN0218_PluggedIn_Infographic_w.pdf

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

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