What Makes a Good Online Student

When most people think about online classes the idea of flexibility and freedom come to mind. While the advantages of online courses may lead someone to believe they are easy, not everyone is cut out for learning online. When it comes to good online students, they are independent learners, effective communicators, and do well with technology.

A good online student is an independent learner. Since courses are conducted on the Internet rather than a classroom, it is important that you enjoy working independently. Unless you know someone else who is enrolled in the course, most of your study time will be spent alone and you will first be expected to learn material on your own then come to the instructor with any questions. Instructors of online courses do not lecture students, but guide them throughout the course and give them instruction when necessary. Independent learners are able to follow directions well, figure things out on their own, and efficiently complete tasks they are given to them.

A good online student is able to communicate effectively. Online courses typically include a lot of written communication, mainly with the instructor. Rather than seeing him after class or visiting his office hours, students will communicate by e-mail or instant message. Good students know to contact their instructors often with any important questions or comments they might have. Consistent communication will ensure that you understand expectations as well as give the instructor a chance to get to know you a little better. Online students also must be good at interactively communicating with other students. They can do this through e-mail or class chat rooms which allow students to get to know each other and compare notes. Course discussion boards are also useful ways to exchange ideas or discuss course material.


A good online student does well with technology. Since online courses consist of learning in a virtual classroom rather than a physical on, students will obviously have to use technology. These types of courses are usually instructed through online management systems, where class instructors post learning material, discussion topics, assignments, and grades. Through these course portals students participate in group discussions, submit their assignments, read class material, complete tutorials, watch videos, and even take quizzes. If a student is not being able to use technology in the right way, it could end up affecting their grade. Therefore, it is important that you are comfortable using technology, such as the Internet, in order to navigate through the system and complete assignments.