Keys to Success
Distance learning is a rewarding and sometimes challenging experience that requires a different level of commitment and perhaps some new types of skills than you might use in a face-to-face course. To meet your educational goals, you need to be organized and motivated.
- Understand and meet the course and English language requirements.
- Use a schedule to manage your time effectively.
- Check the final exam deadline and apply well in advance.
- Activate your TRU Library account to use the library’s resources.
- Communicate with your Open Learning Faculty Member.
- Find out about Educational Advising.
Contact your Open Learning Faculty Member in the first week to introduce yourself. Your registration info includes how best to reach your Open Learning Faculty Member, including their office hours, telephone number and email address. Open Learning Faculty Members are available to help you with any aspect of the course.
Review the requirements for your course and set up a study schedule. Also, review the schedule for assignments — they must be completed and submitted as outlined. Late assignments or submissions too close to an exam date can jeopardize your ability to complete the course successfully.
If your course is online, you will have received login and password information with your enrolment information. Your courses are accessible through myTRU or your course site.
Make sure your library account is active. As an online learner, you have access to services that are specific to TRU's Open Learning students. You can access materials on or off campus as well as connect to the library from home. The library supports you when you are researching, accessing information and completing studies or looking for friendly and personal assistance.
Eight steps to success
1. Meet the expected time commitment per course.
Commit about 10 to 15 hours per week for study and online work per course. Don't overextend yourself by enrolling in too many courses at once. Full-time students might take up to three full-time courses; if you are working or have family commitments, one or two courses might be enough.
Learn more about Time Management.
2. Use a problem-solving approach when encountering technical or other difficulties.
Use your resources effectively when you first encounter a problem. Let your Open Learning Faculty Member know if you can't solve it right away.
Read through Technical Basics to make sure you have the basics covered before you start. Tech support can assist you if you have error messages, file format problems and more. Contact the IT Service Desk by email or by phone. Have your student ID number ready and give a detailed description of the problem.
3. Demonstrate a basic level of technical proficiency.
Upload file attachments, using the learning management system. Post a message to a discussion. Understand what a threaded discussion is and post correctly to a thread (topic). Know how to work with documents in various formats.
Your course site gives you all the details you need on using specific tools within the learning management system, including discussions and messages.
4. Demonstrate effective time management strategies.
Participate in discussions according to the course schedule. Complete assignments in a timely fashion. Contact your Open Learning Faculty Member immediately in the event of unexpected problems. Make use of university resources to help you overcome challenges.
5. Use effective research skills for online and library database searches.
Make use of the library services to learn research skills and locate full-text journal articles online, as well as learn to cite your sources appropriately. Include your research in discussion postings as appropriate, acknowledging your sources with citations.
Refer to the TRU Library website. There are a number of links on learning how to research effectively, as well as a quick guide to evaluating websites. Also see the section on Reading and Researching Online.
6. Communicate effectively online.
Respect and encourage the sharing of ideas that may be different from your own. Follow the guidelines for discussions outlined by your course Open Learning Faculty Member.
Learn more in Online Discussions.
7. Collaborate effectively with a group online.
Familiarize yourself with the components of effective group work: group process, establishing trust, communicating effectively and managing conflict.
8. Demonstrate how to write an effective reflection on an activity or event.
Be familiar with different types of written reflections.
Review the online communications and discussions sections of the tutorial. Read the document Becoming a Reflective Learner.