Dad holds their daughter at the kitchen table while Mom works on her laptop next to him.

How to Be Successful as an Online Learner

Rachael Warren

Setting Yourself Up for Success in an Online Learning Environment

Deciding to become an online learner is a big step and comes with a whole set of unique characteristics and benefits. While there are many wonderful experiences to have on a traditional campus  (e.g. face-to-face interactions with instructors and peers, a physical campus to study on, and features like architecturally mesmerizing libraries and all-you-can-eat cafeteria buffet spreads) the online learning experience is also incredible in its own right.

Online learning at Champlain College Online (CCO) involves perks like asynchronous course delivery (meaning your course content is available to you any time, anywhere), access to Canvas - a centralized and organized online learning platform (this will be your virtual hub for coursework, to-do lists, and more), and virtual connections with instructors and classmates from literally around the world (your peers hail from all 50 U.S. states and countless countries) - just to name a few!

In a nutshell, online learning at CCO is flexible, convenient, fosters collaboration, promotes autonomy, and is all around the best way to earn a degree or certificate while balancing work and familial responsibilities full-time.

From the layered and varied coursework you can expect to CCO’s long history of serving online learners (circa 1992!), Champlain is a leader in online education. In our nearly thirty years of delivering online programs, we’ve learned how to best serve our students to ensure they are equipped to be successful in our online classroom.

As you evaluate how to make online learning work for you, consider our success tips and the resources we offer to help you reach your academic and career goals.

Champlain College Online’s Tips and Resources for Academic Success

Here are a few of the most common strategies we encourage you to implement to be successful as an online learner:

Develop a Time Management Strategy

Time management is your key to success in an online learning environment. Despite the familial and professional commitments our adult learners already juggle in their busy schedules, they have to manage their time effectively to meet their academic commitments as well.

Dedicating blocks of time each week to online learning and marking that time as “non-negotiable” is a great first step. For you, this may be in the early hours of the morning before your kids get on the school bus, during your lunch break at work, or after your kids head to bed for the night. As long as you manage your time strategically, you’ll develop a sustainable rhythm that honors all of your commitments week to week.

For an overview of the amount of time you can expect to spend on coursework, review our breakdown of undergraduate and graduate online course time commitments.

Reach Out to Your Instructors

Our instructors are committed to responding to students within 24 hours. If you have any questions, concerns, require extra support, or simply need to confirm your understanding of an assignment, feel free to email your instructors to get the appropriate response.

Moreover, if email isn’t getting the job done and you could benefit from chatting with your instructors directly, inquire about scheduling a phone or video call. Our instructors meet our students where they are and will happily connect with you via your preferred means of communication.

Explore Our Online Student Support Resources

We offer a full suite of student support resources to help you thrive while balancing life, school, and work. Here are a few notable support services you can tap into that demonstrate proven academic, personal, and career support:

  • Smarthinking Online Tutoring
    Smarthinking is our real-time online tutoring and homework help resource that’s available to you 24/7 from any computer with Internet access. Participate in live support sessions with Smarthinking tutors who are all professional educators with master’s or doctoral degrees. Smarthinking offers a collection of on-demand tutorials in math, business, writing, and more. You’ll also have access to sample problems, research tools, writing manuals, and study skills materials to make sure you receive comprehensive online tutoring services right at your fingertips.
  • Academic Advisors
    Our academic advising team is an incredible resource available to you throughout the entire length of your program. As soon as you accept your offer of admission, you’ll be assigned an academic advisor who will work with you until you reach the finish line. Your advisor will personally help you achieve your academic goals and can be contacted any time by phone or email. Feel free to connect with your academic advisor if you have questions about your program, need guidance on staying on track, or have questions about being connected with a tutor, locating career resources, and more.
  • Library Support
    Online students have access to Champlain’s award-winning Miller Information Commons Library and can ask for one-on-one support from librarians as well. Feel free to live chat with librarians for assistance with research or simply request ebooks from the library to help support your academics.

Develop a Support Network

Another way to achieve success at an online college comes down to developing a strong, reliable support network. A support network can consist of your family, friends, colleagues, classmates, instructors, an advisor, staff members who have helped guide you, and so on.

Your support network will give you connections, offer up advice or guidance, and ultimately cheer you on to help you stay on track. Learn more about building out your support network and why having one is your key to success here.

Avoid Burnout

Chronic stress is a possible consequence of any academic or professional setting and has the potential to build up and lead to burnout. In an online learning environment especially, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of information to learn, discussions to keep up with, and assignments to complete, all while balancing your professional responsibilities and personal commitments. Avoiding burnout is key to staying successful in your online learning journey.

Essentially, make sure you’re taking good care of yourself. Healthy habits like exercising, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, taking time for yourself, and reaching out for support are a few ways you can combat stress. You can learn more about ways to avoid burnout in an online learning environment here. Keeping these tips in mind will keep you healthy all while helping you stay successful at CCO!

Learn From CCO Alumni

Still craving advice for how to be successful at CCO? Learn from our alumni! Our online alumni have shared fantastic strategies and methods for getting the most of CCO’s online learning experience. You can read more about their tips here.

Begin Your Journey at CCO

Now that you’re armed with tips, and helpful information about how you can be successful as an online learner, get started! Chat with our admissions team, explore programs, and take the first step in your online learning experience. Good luck!

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About the Author

Rachael Warren

Senior Content Marketing Specialist

Rachael Warren is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Champlain College Online, where she is the voice behind the CCO blog and helps tell the college's story across multiple digital platforms. Rachael has extensive experience in writing, editing, and content marketing for mission-driven businesses and non-profit organizations. She holds a B.A. in Communication and a Minor in Sociology from the University of Southern Maine.

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