5 Tips for the Traditional Face-to-Face Student Taking Online Courses

AlyssaPotterBy Alyssa Potter, Webster University BA-Public Relations student

Oftentimes online classes are preferred by non-traditional students, such as parents looking to boost their income by earning a degree or busy professionals hoping to advance his or her career by acquiring additional credentials.

Online classes are also beneficial to students who need flexibility and that aspect is appealing more and more to traditional students.

Today’s average student juggles a full-time school schedule, employment, studying for classes and maintaining a social life. Therefore, the option to determine when and where to learn has become increasingly popular.

However, online classes are different from traditional on campus courses. Online learning requires independence, self-discipline and time-management skills to succeed. Here are some tips to help:

  1. Introduce yourself and connect with your professor

Unlike traditional face-to-face courses, you may be able go the whole term without directly communicating with your professor in an online class. Instead, reach out to your professor. It sets you apart from your classmates and opens up the lines of communication.

  1. Schedule time for learning

On campus classes are scheduled for a specific time and place each week, creating structure for students. Online courses should be no different. Plan out when and where you choose to go over lessons, participate in discussions, and complete assignments.

  1. Actively participate in discussions

In traditional face-to-face classes, professors usually take into account students’ participation as a part of their final grade. Your online professor will grade you based upon how active you are in discussions because it is viewed as the equivalent to participation in an on campus class. Go the extra mile. Comment on all of the discussion posts and reply to classmates’ comments as it will only help you in the long run.

  1. Know how to navigate WorldClassRoom

The cornerstone to most online courses is WorldClassRoom powered by Canvas. Thus it is crucial to understand it. You don’t want to miss out on an assignment because you didn’t know how to access it. Take advantage of the Online Student Commons. It offers many resources for online students such as information on webinars, advice, and open forums to discuss topics with other students. If you would prefer talk to someone, Webster offers online Student Success Coaches to help online students connect to the people and places they need.

  1. Be prepared to work

Students often believe online classes are the “easy way out.” They think online classes are a less difficult alternative to traditional on campus courses, but that is not the case. Online courses require the same, if not more, dedication and diligence as traditional face-to-face classes. Students should check WorldClassRoom multiple times per week to learn the lessons, participate in discussions, and work on assignments necessary to comprehend the subject matter.

Online classes can be a great alternative to traditional face-to-face classes for the busy student with multiple responsibilities. However, they require no less commitment and discipline than ground courses. If you implement these tips, you should find success in your online courses.


Alyssa Potter is currently in her junior year of a bachelor of Public Relations Program at Webster University.