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Tips for Success Online

Take the Online Learning Readiness Self-Assessment.

Before enrolling in an online or hybrid course, take the Online Learning Readiness Self-Assessment. This self-assessment will help you determine if online or hybrid courses are a good fit for you. Answer the assessment questions, and you will be given recommendations for success in online learning at Texas State. 

Ask for help.

If you need help with course content, ask your instructor for assistance. If you experience technical problems with your computer, contact the HELP Desk at 512.245.ITAC (4822). If you experience problems logging onto TRACS or Canvas, contact Instructional Technologies Support at or telephone 512.245.5566.

Be prepared to use technology.

Whether you're using a computer to create files, open e-mail attachments, download a software program, navigate the Internet, or use Texas State's TRACS or Canvas course management system, be prepared to know how to use the technology every time you enroll in an online class. If you are unfamiliar with the technology, plan on learning how to use it on your own. Texas State has tutorials for many common tools in TRACS and Canvas (the new learning management system), available on the TRACSFacts website and the TXST Canvas Support website.

Manage your time wisely.

Because you may not be required to attend any regularly scheduled classes on campus, you must schedule your own time wisely in order to succeed in online classes. Time management requires you to be self-motivated and self-disciplined. Students should expect to invest a minimum of two hours of additional work for each hour of classroom or faculty instruction per week. For example, a three-hour credit course will require at least six hours of outside work, which often includes reading, studying, writing, conducting research, completing homework assignments, responding to discussion boards, meeting virtually in groups, and other learning activities. Visit Policies and Procedure for information on how credit hours are calculated at Texas State.

Communicate frequently.

Online classes require students to be good communicators. You communicate often with your instructor and classmates, but it will almost always be done in writing — using e-mail, discussion boards, and chat rooms — and sometimes working in virtual teams.

Read the course information and expectations thoroughly.

You will receive your online course announcements, assignments, deadlines, syllabi, etc. as text-based reading materials. Read all of your online materials carefully and regularly so that you understand the course requirements and stay current with course updates. Mark your calendar with due dates and set-aside time each week to study and work on learning activities. 

Online may be convenient but not easier.

Online courses often provide students great flexibility and freedom when completing course requirements. However, the academic quality and learning outcomes of online courses are equal to campus-based courses. Students often have to adjust to the flexibility, which is the reason we strongly encourage you to take the online assessment noted in Tip #1. 

Be ready to start class on time.

Be ready to start your class on time by having the hardware and software to succeed. Contact your online instructor for specific hardware and software that may be required to succeed in the online class.

Contact ODEL.

Distance learners often face challenges that are different from on-campus students, and ODEL understands that students may need assistance from time to time. ODEL can help connect distance learning students to resources that will help them succeed academically, professionally, and personally here at Texas State University. If you are experiencing any difficulties during your time here as a distance learning student, please contact ODEL at 512.245.2322 and our Student Development Specialist II will work on connecting you with the resources you need.