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Father working on his computer with his sonIn years past, the idea of earning an education “on the internet” may have seemed strange since it wasn’t widely used. But since the COVID-19 Pandemic, online learning has changed the way people think about earning a degree online. We know you’re busy, but online degrees offer unparalleled convenience and flexibility that can help you balance school and your other daily responsibilities. To help you get ready for a program like UTSA Online, we want to share 10 tips for succeeding in an online degree program. 

For some, the shift to online learning may seem daunting, but with the proper planning and the right strategies, you can be successful. We’re here to help you thrive in your online degree program.

Let’s dive into our 10 tips for ensuring you make the most of your online education experience. 

Tip #1: Research the Quality of the Program

Let’s start at the beginning, before you’ve selected your program. You’ll want to make sure that you’re selecting a reputable and accredited online degree program. At UTSA Online, you can rest assured knowing you’re getting a quality education. You’ll learn from the same faculty and experience the same rigor as all UTSA students, but with the flexibility you need.

UTSA’s 100% online programs have also been ranked in multiple categories by U.S. News and World Report in 2024, further showcasing the quality of our academic programs.

Tip #2: Manage Your Time

Effective time management is important for online learning success. It may help if you establish a consistent study schedule to help you stay organized and on track with your coursework. You may be thinking “I have a lot going on in life and each day changes! How can I be consistent?”

Consistency doesn’t mean you do the things at the same time every week or every day. But it could look like this: setting short and long term goals to help you maintain focus on direction and planning out your week or semester ahead of time so you know when your assignments are due to ensure you meet your deadlines. 

You should do your best to avoid procrastination, which can impact your performance and stress levels. Avoiding procrastination will help in instances where a last-minute work or home situation derails your plans on completing an assignment just before it’s due.

By managing your time wisely, you can prevent those last-minute rushes and ensure your assignments are of high quality.

Tip #3: Get Organized

Organization is another key part of your success in your educational journey, and it’s important that you find an organizational strategy that works best for you. This could mean using digital resources like a Google calendar, a calendar app, a to-do list app, or a note-taking app, or all of the above.

You could also opt for traditional notebooks and printed calendars if you prefer to have a hard copy. 

You can research different organizational systems to find one that works for you. Consider using a combination of the methods you find so it’s most effective for your learning style and lifestyle.

Whatever method you choose, remember: being organized helps you keep track of assignments, deadlines, and important dates, setting you up for future success .

Tip #4: Learn the Technology

Woman using laptop while sitting in chair

As you’re preparing for classes, don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the technology you’ll be using. For instance, UTSA Online uses Canvas, a Learning

Management System, for all its courses. If you’re unfamiliar with this page, UTSA has a Canvas resources page to help you become comfortable using it.

Make sure you have a stable internet connection to avoid disruptions, and consider having a back-up plan in case there are any last-minute issues when you’re trying to complete an assignment. Is there a coffee shop or library that offers internet access close to where you live that you can use to submit an assignment in an emergency? 

Above all, remember, it’s ok to not know everything right away. If you have a question, there’s a good chance someone else has had a similar concern. You’re not alone in learning a new technology, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Tip #5: Be Active and Communicate

Active participation and communication are vital in online courses. Make sure you reach out to your instructor promptly if you have questions or concerns about a course or assignment.

You should also plan time to participate in online discussions so you can enhance your understanding of the material and connect with your fellow classmates.

Don’t hesitate to seek help from other students, family, friends, professors, tutors, and academic advisors. At UTSA Online, you’re never alone in your academic journey. We’re here to support you every step of the way.

Tip #6: Brush Up on Your Writing Skills

Strong writing skills are important for academic success, but you shouldn’t stress if you’d like to improve your writing. Make sure to use tools like spell check, as well as free writing assistance programs such as Grammarly, to help. 

With Grammarly, like with many writing assistance programs, you’ll copy and paste your writing into the website and then you’ll get suggestions on how to improve your writing. You can then choose how to adjust your writing from there! 

Don’t forget to explore writing guides and tutorials to refine your skills further. Websites like Grammarly also have blogs that offer valuable tips and advice on effective writing.

As a UTSA Online student, you can also take advantage of the UTSA Writing Center for personalized assistance. 

As with technology, it’s ok to need help. Utilize the resources available to help you be successful.

Tip #7: Discover How You Learn Best

Did you know that everyone has a unique learning style? What works best for a friend or family member may not work for you. You may be a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner (you learn by doing), or you may benefit from a combination of methods.

As a visual learner, you may like charts and diagrams. If you’re more of an auditory learner, it may be more beneficial for you to listen to your lectures. As a kinesthetic learner, you may find hands-on activities helpful.

If you’d like some guidance, here’s an article about figuring out what your learning style is. Once you know your ideal learning style, you’ll be able to tailor your study methods to be more effective. 

Tip #8: Engage with Your Classmates

Building relationships with your classmates can enhance your learning experience.

Parent with child taking an online course in his laptop.

 By participating in discussion groups and conversing with your peers, you can gain different perspectives and solve problems collaboratively. 

At UTSA Online, Canvas is often used for in-class discussions. Additionally, some students and professors like to use different apps – such as Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Discord – to stay connected and to allow for discourse outside of Canvas.

Tip #9: Don’t Forget About Your Mental Health

We’ve reviewed some pretty important steps to succeeding in an online degree program, but one of the most important tips is to maintain your mental health.

Make sure you monitor your mental well-being and implement strategies to stay healthy, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep. UTSA offers all its students access to TimelyCare, a mental health support resource. Remember, taking care of your mental health is not only important for your academic performance, it’s important in your daily life as well.

Tip #10: Ask for Help

We’ve mentioned this throughout the post, but don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Whether that’s asking a friend, instructor, academic advisor, or using one of UTSA’s Resources for Online Students, seeking assistance can provide clarity and support. 

For instance, UTSA’s Library Services has a live chat feature online. If you have any questions, you can talk to a real person to get the help you’re looking for. Asking for help is a sign of strength and an important step in overcoming challenges.

Conclusion

Succeeding in an online degree program is possible with the right strategies. By managing your time, staying organized, and seeking help when you need it, you can excel in your academic journey. 

UTSA Online is here to support you every step of the way. Embrace these tips and set yourself up for success as you build your Bold Future.

Are you interested in learning about UTSA Online’s Programs?

UTSA Online offers several 100% online programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, and post-graduate certificate programs. Explore all our programs to find which one is right for you.

If you are ready to start your career path, contact UTSA Online’s Undergraduate Enrollment Team at 210-458-4000 or onlineenrollment@utsa.edu, or the UTSA Online Graduate Enrollment Team at 210-458-4400 or onlinegrad@utsa.edu.

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