Student Success


Students, parents, teachers, and counselors often ask “What characteristics does a student need to be successful in an online class?” The following information is provided as an overview of the characteristics and skills that assist students in online course success.


Strong reading and writing skills are needed for success in the online learning environment. Online courses are reading intensive; students demonstrate acquired knowledge and communicate with the teacher through writing, making both of these skills essential to online success.

An honest review of the list below provides the opportunity for students to reflect on their own academic skills and determine if an online course is a good learning option. This list is not intended to be a checklist. Students do not need all of the characteristics to be successful. In fact, a student can be successful even if they possess only some of the characteristics. Motivation and interest are important in any learning environment.  

 Independent Learner - self-directed and motivated, able to set goals and meet them. Students must be self-disciplined and able to meet deadlines. Student does not require face-to-face interaction with their instructor or fellow students.

Proficient Readers and Communicators - able to read and write well. Online courses are reading intensive and communication is written.

Inquisitive and Willing to Ask Questions - feel comfortable asking questions when help is needed. Not easily frustrated and capable of resolving potential problems. Recognize that feedback from the teacher is not immediate.

Open -Willing to share experiences with their instructor and fellow students in a virtual environment.

Good Time Management Skills – meet deadlines, follow the course calendar, participate in discussion boards, and realize that an online course will take the same amount of time as a face-to-face course.

Understand and Remember Netiquette - exhibit respect for the classroom environment and remember their "manners" when communicating with their fellow classmates and instructor.

Basic Computer Skills - have good basic computer skills and be comfortable problem solving technology issues
Access to a computer – has Internet access and is able to access a computer daily to access coursework. (PC minimum is Windows XP or Macintosh minimum is OS X)

Get Support from an Adult – a counselor, parent, or mentor monitor student progress and support the student in staying current on assignments and course work.

Photo by Lily Tran