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5 Tips to be Successful in Your Online Classes

| | 3 minute read

You’ve finally done it. Decided on taking online classes. Now that you have taken the plunge you might be asking yourself, is taking online classes a good idea? Of course! But, just like everything else in life, you want to be sure you have the right tools for the job.

Success in taking online classes relies on different things than classes that require attendance. Sure, your online class saves you the time and gas when not having to drive to campus, search for parking, and then walk to class – only to get rained on! But, online classes also have their challenges… like deadlines, and dealing with wonky Internet!

Coffee? Laptop? Check! What else do you need? Let’s find out.

5 Tips to be Successful in Your Online Classes.

  1. Get connected!

    Netflix and chill. We’ve all done it. But does that mean you have the Internet needed for taking online courses? That leads us to the first tip for success in your online class – reliable Internet access. If you can’t access the professor’s teachings and the class materials, you can’t make the grade. Check with your university to see what Internet speed they recommend. has some great tips on how to check your Internet speed – including links to different Internet Service Providers across the nation.

  2. Find out what programs are used for your classes – ahead of time.

    Are you a night owl? Online classes are great, offering you the flexibility to study day or night. Just be sure you can get assistance when you need it – on your schedule. Do this by finding out what Learning Management System (LMS) is used for your classes and how to get help. At The University of Southern Mississippi, we have developed a page dedicated to helping students including offering round-the-clock 24/7 student support. Find the LMS support page and bookmark it, for when caffeine can’t fix the problem.

  3. Know your deadlines – down to the hour and minute.

    That buffering icon may be fine when you are watching a movie, but don’t let it cause you to miss out on an assignment. You are a self-motivated person taking college classes online and that’s a plus! But remember to keep your eye on the clock. Often professors give deadlines that have to be met to earn class credit. Since you are submitting your assignments online, the exact due date is important. For instance, you may be able to submit the assignment by the 7 p.m. deadline, but not able to one minute later, at 7:01.

  4. Have a back up plan!

    Remember that year your Internet never went down? Yeah, me neither! That is why you need to be prepared in case you have an Internet outage. The best plans involve back up plans. Have a few alternate  locations you can utilize to access your online class and submit your work. Not sure where to go? Well, did you know according to the American Library Association there are approximately 17,000 local libraries in the United States today? Many local libraries offer free Internet, and even computer access.

  5. Get in touch early on.

    Even if you do everything right and have everything ready to go, life can be tricky. In the beginning of the first semester, introduce yourself to your professor. Read the syllabus and know exactly how to contact the professor in case of an emergency. Don’t limit yourself to your professor’s contact information. Find out the name, phone number, and email address of the academic department your online class falls under. That way if you have an emergency, or even if the professor has an emergency and you don’t hear from them, you know how to get in touch with the department to see what you need to do.

Now that you’ve gone through the 5 tips, have checked your Internet, and discovered that one minute can make an assignment late, you are ready for your online classes! Remember, you’ve got this! You took the first step in deciding to take online classes and that makes you stand out from the crowd. Now you can use these tips to make sure you’re on track to make the most out of your online class.

Deciding to take an online class is a big commitment that offers great rewards. If you enjoy that class and decide to take the next step to completing a fully online degree, check out our fully online degree offerings at Southern Miss.

Office of Online Learning

All blog posts are written and maintained by the Office of Online Learning at The University of Southern Mississippi. We provide support to online students, to faculty teaching online courses, and to units seeking to develop, grow, or improve online programs at the University.

For more information, email us at