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Many students find that online courses are at least as time consuming, perhaps even a bit more, than in-class courses. Students who succeed in an online class often share these characteristics.

  • Independent
  • Self-Motivated
  • Self-Disciplined
  • Good a time management
  • Have a keen interest in the course


Learning online may require you to adopt new strategies to succeed. Practicing good study habits is a place to begin.

Become familiar with Blackboard, the Learning Management System used to support online learning at Framingham State University. If this is your first online class, visit the Blackboard On Demand Learning Center before classes begin.

Log into Blackboard early. All online students receive a welcome message before classes begin. If the email does not arrive before the course begins, contact the Blackboard support line, 1-866-361-8970, for your username and password. 

Familiarize yourself with your course site and instructor expectations. Your instructor will email a welcome message when the course is opened (not always before classes begin.) Open each menu option listed in your class site so that you become familiar with the course tools. Find the course syllabus, schedule, class requirements, methods of communication, and know where to go for help. 

Review course expectations. Although most online courses are taught asynchronously, some professors do schedule real-time online collaboration sessions or ask you to meet on campus to review course material or to take an exam.  If you are unsure of the expectations, ask.

Be organized. Many students find that online courses are at least as time consuming, perhaps even a bit more, than face-to-face classes. Schedule time to log into your course site on a regular basis, participate as requested and stick to your schedule for the duration of the course. If you allow too many days to pass by you may find it difficult to catch up.

Complete all assignments on time. Online courses are not self- paced, but they are flexible. If it works better for you to complete your work in the evening, that is perfectly fine as long as it meets the due date set by your instructor. Become familiar with the course syllabus and know when your assignments are due.

Be an independent learner.  Online courses require that you work from written directions or written communication from your instructor or classmates. Participate in the online discussions as directed by your professor and share your views to broaden your understanding of the course material. Some students have said that online collaboration often provides more opportunities to explore the course content in-depth than is possible during an in-class discussion.

Communication skills are a key factor in an online class. It is important to write clear and concise statements when you communicate online. Remember the person reading your comments does not see your expression or hear your tone of voice. Take advantage of the environment and prepare your comments in Word before posting them online or sending an email to your classmates or instructor. 

Become familiar with communication policies for your course. Most instructors will reply to your emails within 24 to 48 hours. Knowing the preferred method of communication will help alleviate the feeling of isolation when taking an online course.

If you have a question, ask. Remember that most classes meet only online. Be clear with your comments and requests and keep your instructor informed if you have questions or experience any difficulties.

Reward yourself occasionally! Online courses are as in-depth as a face-to-face class. Plan to do something special for yourself after you have studied or worked hard on a project.  

Framingham State University

100 State Street

PO Box 9101

Framingham, MA 01701-9101

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Phone: 508-620-1220

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