What Skills Do I Need?

Technical Skills

You don't have to be a computer wizard to have the technical skills necessary to be a successful online learner, but you do need:

  1. To be able to navigate the Internet.

  2. Basic computer skills, including:
    • Can type
    • Can use a mouse
    • Can save, edit, and open documents
    • Able to Cut, Copy, and Paste text
    • Able to use email
    • Able to attach a file to your email
  3. Have access to:
    • A Pentium class computer with at least 1GHz processor, 512 MB RAM with 5 GB free disk space.
    • An Internet Service Provider
    • Student email address

Tips on How to be successful in an online course

Login to Blackboard often (3-5 times each week minumum).

Like other forms of electronic communication, Blackboard records each time you login and the course areas you visit while online. Your instructors will know whether or not you are participating (just as they would in a face-to-face class), so make sure you participate to the fullest extent.


If you are having trouble logging into Blackboard, consider the following possible causes:

Most of the college's online courses use Blackboard as their online delivery software. If you are unable to login, here are some possible reasons:

  • Your username and/or password are incorrect. Review login directions.
  • Generally, you will not be able to login to your Blackboard course(s) until the day of the on-campus eLearning orientation (4 days prior to the start date of the course).
  • It may take 24 to 48 hours after registering to transfer your registration information from Owl Link to the Blackboard server. You will not be able to log into Blackboard until your information has been transferred to Blackboard.
  • Your instructor may not be using Blackboard; if you can't login within 48 hours after registering, contact your instructor directly by email or phone. You will find a course list for the semester in which you are registered on the Class Schedules page in Owl Link.


Do your work "offline" in Word or a similar type of document.

This is the Internet equivalent of "The dog ate my homework." Instructors have little patience with hearing that you lost your work just as you were going to send it. Internet users know that service will often be disrupted with no warning. If you work offline and save your files to disk, you don't have to worry about being disconnected before you finish and submit your work.


ALWAYS save your files before you send them to your instructor.

Again, the electronic world is uncertain. Always save a copy of your files in case something gets lost in cyberspace. It's your responsibility to complete and turn in assignments; instructors cannot assign a grade based on work they've never seen.


Confused? Need help? Questions?

First, ask your classmates! Most instructors provide a discussion board dedicated specifically to questions about the technology and the class. Use the discussion board to ask your fellow students how to solve a technical problem...chances are, there are some "computer wizards" in your class who can find a solution to your problem.

Then, ask your instructor or contact eLearning Services.


Study Skills

A successful eLearning student usually has the following characteristics:


  • is self-motivated (does not need a lot of direction and motivation from an instructor)
  • is self-disciplined (can budget time wisely and meets deadlines)
  • enjoys the challenge of learning on her/his own (likes to read and learn)
  • takes charge of her/his own learning (willing to ask questions and get help when necessary)
  • understands and remembers what is read
  • communicates well in writing
  • may need a flexible schedule but understands that flexibility does NOT mean the course will be easy.


Budget your time.

At a minimum, you will need to study between 6 and 9 hours EACH week in order to be successful in this course.


Get organized.

It is recommended that you don't procrastinate and don't get behind.

It's very easy to get behind in an online course because you don't actually see the instructor or your fellow students on a regular basis. No one can force you to login to Blackboard or to answer your email. If you're not careful, you can attend to the responsibilities that are right there in your life and postpone your responsibilities in cyberspace.


Meet deadlines.

Many students incorrectly believe that an online course is student-paced and they can choose when to hand in materials. Actually, most online courses are instructor-paced and there are real deadlines which must be met if you are to pass the course. If you really don't have time to do the work, drop the course before you fail the course.


Keep in touch with your instructor and your classmates.

Most instructors provide a discussion board within Blackboard for you to post questions about the course requirements, the course content, or the technology. As soon as you begin to be confused or have a question, post it to the discussion board and ask for help from your fellow students. Most online students are glad to help and welcome a chance to get to know their classmates better.