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Being a Successful Online Student

If you are thinking about taking online or hybrid courses, gauge your readiness by asking yourself these questions:

Are you a self-disciplined, self-motivated person with good time management skills? 

Is taking an online class a good fit for you? Online learning requires different skills, in terms of studying and technology, than you might use in a face-to-face class. It's important to be prepared for this change and to understand the kind of commitment that's necessary for success in online learning. Gauge your readiness for online learning by completing the Online Readiness Survey.

Do you have access to a reliable computer and Internet connection?

  • Depending upon your student status, you may need between 4-15 hours of uninterrupted Internet access per week to fulfill course expectations. Your computer should meet these basic requirements.

  • Make sure your computer stays reliable by installing and updating your anti-virus software and allowing updates to your web browser (e.g. Explorer or Firefox) and operating system (e.g. Windows). ITS has more information and downloads for free anti-virus programs.

  • Access the SIUE Campus Wireless Network page if you are on campus and wish to connect to the secure wireless (WPA) network with your laptop or mobile device. (Windows, Macs, iPhone, and Android devices supported).
    • If you are taking a test online, you are strongly advised to connect your computer to an Ethernet jack. ITS strongly discourages students from taking tests over a wireless network, as these connections can intermittently drop and cause students to lose unsaved data or automatically submit an unfinished exam.

Are you comfortable using email, word processors, and other technology to participate in class?

  • If Blackboard is new to you, the ITS student Blackboard page will help you get familiar with the learning management system. You'll also find tips here for Turnitin and other Blackboard tools. A "Help" link is also located in the left-hand navigation of every Blackboard course and can be used to access additional tool-specific tutorials.

  • Depending upon your class, you might need to use a headset and microphone (if you plan to use video conferencing) or the microphone and speakers built into many computers. Required hardware is usually listed on your course syllabus. 

Do you have access to software you might need?

  • You will more than likely need a word processing program to complete your studies at SIUE. Many computers are pre-loaded with the Microsoft Office Suite, but as a student you can download the software for free at Just log in with your SIUE e-ID and password.

  • If a course requires you to download specific software, you will often find those requirements in your syllabus.

  • Other free software suggestions are on the ITS-recommended software page.

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