How to Succeed - Tips for Success as a Distance Learning Student

How Do I Get Started?

  • COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR. Check the LCCC Faculty/Staff Directory for phone # and/or email address.
  • Get a list of course materials from the instructor and read carefully for details.
  • Buy textbooks and other required items. You can order textbooks and software online.
  • Complete the WebStudy Online Student Orientation.
  • Understand the requirements and deadlines for your course.
  • You are responsible for maintaining your own equipment and software. If you experience hardware or software problems throughout the semester, you must find another way to complete the assigned work in a timely manner.
  • Break tasks into manageable parts.
  • Create a schedule with:
    • All of your Instructor's Due Dates
    • Your own deadlines and activities that you set for yourself
    • Stick to the schedule!

How to Succeed

  • Have access to the proper hardware and software before the semester begins.
  • Battle procrastination; do requirements early.
  • Make time to do the work! The average is 9-12 hours per week for a 15-week, 3-credit course or 18 hours per week for a 10-week course.
  • Carefully read the textbook(s) and answer any study questions provided.
  • Complete all tutorials with the texts. You may not be asked to hand these in, but they will help you learn the material.
  • Complete any assignments in a neat and orderly manner.
  • Keep copies of all materials submitted for grading!
  • If the instructor requires proctored exams, class meetings or other on-campus activity, contact the instructor IMMEDIATELY when you know you will not be able to meet the requirement. Do not wait until after the test deadline to tell the instructor that you were unable to attend.

Seek Help Early!

  • If you are having problems, do NOT wait to request help. The longer you wait the bigger the problem becomes!
  • Use tutorials, textbook websites, and other campus support services.
  • The first person to contact is your instructor.  If they cannot answer your question, they can direct you to someone who can.
  • The Distance Education department provides assistance for many issues:
    • If you are experiencing technical problems with WebStudy, follow the instructions in the WebStudy Online Student Orientation.
    • If you still have a problem, contact us at the options provide here.
  • Visit the LCCC Library Online - use this for reference via the Internet.
  • For questions about applying to the College, contact the Admissions Office.
  • With questions about enrollment in specific courses or how to register online, contact the Enrollment Services Office.

Good Online Management Skills

Time Management

  • Study all course content the instructor has available for you.  They will test you on both the textbook and online content. 
  • ALL hybrid courses require on-campus class meetings. Check the printed or online schedule for required class meetings. 
  • Allocate at least the same amount of time each week for an online course as you would for a campus course. The time needed will be approximately 3-4 hours per credit per week for a 15-week course, meaning 9-12 hours per week for 3-credit course.  Expect to spend 18 hours per week for a 3-credit 10-week course.
  • Make contacts among fellow students, forming study groups if possible or preferable. 
  • Read your lesson the first day it is available. If you have any questions, contact your instructor immediately.
  • Many online courses require that work be completed every week. It is necessary to review the course syllabus, calendar and /or pacing guide for these dates.

Asking questions

  • Read the course introduction/syllabus for your online class carefully to find out how you should ask questions. Some instructors will ask you to post all questions to a class discussion forum while others will ask you to email them directly to the instructor.
  • In a traditional class, everyone gets the benefit of hearing the question and answer. Therefore, the instuctor may require you to post all questions to the class discussion board so that the entire class can view all questions and answers.
  • Some questions may already be answered by the instructor in his/her FAQ section.
  • Identify how or when you can contact your instructor for office hour appointments.
  • Access your online classroom several times a week so that you can take part in online discussions and read all messages in a timely manner.

Discussions and Email

  • Keep a copy of all correspondence you send to your instructor. You may want to "cc" yourself. That way you will know that the mail is being delivered.
  • Netiquette in email and discussion postings:
    • Choose your words carefully. It is easy to sound brusque or even nasty when all the other person sees is a typed message. Humor is more difficult to convey in a written message.
    • Proofread your email messages and discussion postings before sending or posting them. The more accurate your messages, the more likely they will be understood.
    • Do not use "chat-speak," the abbreviations common to social online chatrooms, such as BTW = "by the way." Your WebStudy class site is an academic environment.  You will want to communicate accordingly.
    • A message written with all capital letters is viewed as shouting. Most people will find this offensive. It is also more difficult to read.

Typical Features/Tools in an Online Course

  • Messaging
    • Email, chat, and class discussion forums are the primary forms of communication between the instructor and students as well as among students.
  • Transferring Files
    • You may be asked to submit graded items in WebStudy by uploading these files in an online assignment. Read the instructions carefully on those pages.
    • You may be asked to send files in WebStudy by attaching these files to an email to the instructor.
    • You may be asked to use the Save-As command (under "File" in any text editor) to save a document in Rich Text Format (.rtf).
    • The instructor may have you download or upload files.
  • Quizzes and Tests
    • Tests may be take-home tests that could be sent to you through an email message.
    • More commonly, quizzes are provided online directly in WebStudy. Please refer to the information below (under Technology Preparation) about possible browser-related problems and the solutions provided.
    • Many instructors will require proctored exams. Your photo ID is required to verify the identity of the person taking the exam. This is especially likely for mid-terms and final exams. Contact your instructor immediately if you live outside the Lehigh Valley and cannot take tests on the Main Campus in Schnecksville.

Technology Preparation

  • Students are responsible for their own computers. In the event that your computer breaks down during the semester, have an alternate plan. For example, you might use a computer in an open lab on campus, use a friend's or relative's computer, or go to the public library.
    • System Check: On the WebStudy homepage, there is a system check to determine if your computer is ready to work with WebStudy. Ensure that you have a green checkmark next to each item on the list.
    • Download updated Web browsers and plg-ins as needs.
  • Many features in WebStudy are available through pop-up windows. You must either set your pop-up blocker to allow "" to accept pop-ups or turn off pop-ups blockers.