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California State University, Fullerton "Committed to guiding, supporting, and empowering faculty in creating quality online instruction."

Tips for Becoming a Successful Online Learner


Develop Basic Computer/Internet Skills for Using Your Course's Tools and Features

If you are new to online networking, Web 2.0 (Facebook, blogs, wikis, etc.), and to online discussion boards, then those are skills that you need to develop for your online course. For example, many online courses nowadays use discussion boards, chats, wikis, and blogs to enhance student-to-student and teacher-to-student communication.

Here are some tips to follow.


1. Follow the basic rules of Netiquette. Netiquette is a combination of the word network with the word etiquette. In a nutshell, using proper netiquette means showing respect, being polite and treating others in your course as you would like to be treated. Remember that anything you post or email can be indiscriminately forwarded by someone else.
  1. Do not type in all caps. It is like yelling.
  2. Do not give out personal information or passwords.
  3. Do not plagiarize. Give credit where credit is due.
  4. Lurk before you comment. In other words, read the whole thread of the discussion before posting your own comments.
  5. Avoid offensive comments. Anything obscene, libelous or racist is inappropriate.
  6. Write a concise subject line.
  7. Watch your sense of humor. Non-face-to-face communication can easily be misinterpreted.
  8. Be careful about forwarding some else's message. That person might not have intended for you to forward it.
  9. Don't expect an immediate response from your instructor or another student. The post or message might be sent right away, but the other person might not necessarily read it right away.
  10. Be sure to edit your message before sending or posting it. Proper grammar and carefully crafted words are still important within academic settings.
Check these resources for more information on Netiquette: answers.com and about.com.

2. Learn the basic features of the Learning Management System your course is using. For example, Cal State Fullerton uses TITANium (Moodle). Click to view a tutorial.

3. Learn basic keyboarding and office suite software. Because a lot of typing is involved in most online courses, it wouldn't be a bad idea to improve your keyboarding skills. You should also learn the basic use of a word processing program, a spreadsheet program, and email (all of those constituting an office suite), if you don't already have those skills.