E-Learner DOs & DON’Ts

Online  learning may offer great flexibility when it comes to attending school and taking care of home life. The possibility of completing a degree program at home will be rewarding and exciting to some, but discouraging and complicated to others.

Because learning at a distance can be quite challenging and many of the benefits of a traditional classroom will not be available, it is very important that students develop consistent habits in order to be successful.

Here are some Do's and Don'ts for Online learners


  • Do assess your educational and career goals before starting an online learning program.
  • Do find a quiet and secluded area (of your house, apartment) to use as  a place to study and complete your coursework so that you don't get interrupted or distracted.
  • Do be prepared to commit the time -- anywhere from 4 to 15 hours a week per course.
  • Do familiarize yourself with the course syllabus and content, even before you register, to be sure you are ready to master the content online.
  • Do know the rules of good netiquette, especially as it relates to email.
  • Do develop good online education habits, such as checking your email at least once a day, more often if you are working on a group project.
  • Do plan on using or developing good time-management skills to enable you to balance course work with your other responsibilities and obligations.
  • Do respect the rules of academic honesty and integrity.
  • Do take breaks from being online too long; give your eyes a chance to rest.
  • Do remember that email is your primary form of communication, therefore you must be clear and detailed with the information you are sending.


  • Don't be intimidated by the lingo and terminology of distance education. Use this distance-education glossary from netlingo.com to get a handle on all the key terms.
  • Don't think you can be anonymous in a distance-learning course; in fact, do expect more interaction with your professor and your classmates than in traditional university settings.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help if you are having problems with the technology or with the course.
  • Don’t take the courses lightly because they are only online learning courses. Distance education courses can be just as rigorous, if not more so, as traditional classroom courses.
  • Don't expect to be a passive learner; you must be self-directed and self-motivated to succeed. Do assume your share of the responsibility for learning the course material.
  • Don't procrastinate. Procrastination may be the one deadly sin of online learning. Do set goals and deadlines, and do try and stay current with your readings and class projects.
  • Don't get discouraged if distance learning doesn’t work for you; distance education is not suited for everyone; however, do look into other educational opportunities to achieve your goals.