Checklist for student success

October 21, 2016 · 2 min read · By Lauren Permoda

Program coordinator and masterful orientation instructor Lauren Permoda helps online students succeed. Check out her tips for setting goals at the start of the academic session.


Being a student is a challenge. As a student I struggled, especially while trying to balance school, work, and life. I started a list of tips for students when I was a student and have continued adding to this list as an instructor. This list can be used by both online and in-person students.


Set goals for yourself by:

  • Planning ahead. Many students claim they are procrastinators, but this shouldn't be used as an excuse. Instructors expect you to complete your work correctly and on time. Planning ahead also allows you to make time for technical problems or unexpected changes in your schedule.
  • Print your syllabus and follow it closely. Note any changes, especially due dates. Also recognize your instructor’s expectations and requirements for the course.
  • Knowing which department to contact if you’re having technical difficulties. Bookmark our tech support page for any issues you may experience.
  • Remembering that online classes does not translate to easier classes. As an online student you are expected to complete the same amount of work as you would in a face-to-face course.
  • Having multiple Internet browsers available to you. Mozilla FireFox and Google Chrome work best with Canvas.
  • Using a desktop or laptop computer when completing online activities and assignments. While mobile electronic devices –such as your cellphone or tablet– are great, they're not conducive to the online learning environment.
  • Asking for help. Your instructors may not know you're struggling, so help your instructors help you. Also consider utilizing tutors. Asking for help and getting the help you need can only make you a better student.
  • Checking your grades and reading your instructor’s feedback. Instructors may leave feedback on assignments. Their notes are meant to guide you into improving your work. Make sure you read your instructor’s feedback and apply the changes to future assignments.

Also check out these great Canvas tips.

  • Log into Canvas daily and check Canvas announcements. Even if you’re not planning on completing any work, it’s a good idea to see if there’s anything new you need to know.
  • Check your Canvas email and your student email. Even if you have emails set up to forward to your personal email address, it's still important to check your student email in case a message was not forwarded properly.
  • Use the classroom discussion board for basic course questions. Some instructors create a discussion board specifically for students to ask questions related to assignments or course content. Before panicking because you need clarification or do not know how to complete your homework, check your online discussion board. It’s likely that another student shares your questions and concerns, and if you see a question that you know the answer to, you can help another student out by providing an answer. Just remember to keep personal questions, such as questions about your grades, out of online discussion boards and in private emails with your instructor.


About the Author

Lauren conducts student orientations for online students to help the transition into the online learning experience as smooth as possible.

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