for Your Class
NDSU Distance and Continuing Education online classes present different challenges than traditional face-to-face classes. This information can provide a guideline for what to expect, how to prepare for success, and ways to stay motivated.
Tips for Success
Where to get your textbooks and other materials
Technical Requirements for Online and Computer-based Courses
Tips for Success
Have realistic expectations
A reasonable estimate of the time needed to participate in a typical distance education class is 3 to 5 hours per credit, per week. For example, a 2 credit class would take approximately 6 to 10 hours per week to keep up with assignments, readings, and other related learning activities. This will vary widely according to the actual class, your own study skills, and mastery of the information. Most DCE classes are independent learning experiences; without the structure of regular face-to-face meetings, many students find that these types of classes require a higher level of self-discipline and self-motivation to complete.
Develop a study strategy
At the beginning of your class, review the class materials to get a good sense of how the information is laid out and structured. Use this to map out a study plan or schedule that you will use to work through the material. Share this schedule with the people in your life; they can better support your study schedule (and help keep you on track) if they are aware of it.
Keep up with the course content
Set a regular schedule, or adhere to the published schedule, for course events and content. Distance education classes often are less structured than a traditional class that meets regularly in a classroom setting. Successful students are those who can be self-motivated, and self-disciplined. Keep on top of course content to avoid "cramming" large volumes of information prior to a test or project deadline. Keeping an even pace reduces stress, improves your ability to truly take the time to learn the material, and will make it easier for the instructor to provide assistance to you if you should have difficulty. Instructors are apt to view your request for assistance more positively if your request is paced with the class, rather than just prior to a major exam or project deadline. Keeping on pace demonstrates to the instructor that you take the class seriously.
Take advantage of contact opportunities such as virtual office hours, chat rooms, discussion boards, orientation sessions, or teleconferences
These sessions are scheduled and provided for your benefit. The instructor may use these sessions to provide assistance to students who have questions, discuss the course material and build upon the print or electronic materials you have received, or provide you an opportunity to express your views and connect with classmates. Generally, students who are well-connected to the instructor and/or other students in the class are more successful than students who attempt to learn in isolation.
Get a study buddy
Even if you can't make contact with someone who is also enrolled in your class, enlist the help of a family member or good friend who can provide feedback, proofread your written assignments, or help to quiz you as you prepare for exams. This person can also serve as a cheerleader or coach to check in on your progress or provide a little reminder when you need to focus on your class.
Reward yourself along the way
The end of the class may seem far off; celebrate milestones along the way and you'll make progress seem more attainable and keep yourself motivated.
Apply the learning
Look for opportunities outside of the class to apply what you've been learning. By putting concepts into practice right away, you are more likely to retain and truly own that information.
Make the most of your free time
Carry flash cards, study notes or summary sheets with you, in pocket size. Review these when waiting in line, when on hold on the phone, or whenever you have 5 or 10 minutes of spare time. During the course of a week, these short study sessions add up!
Register for classes as soon as your registration window opens
Plan your classes ahead of time and be sure to register for classes as soon as your registration window opens. This will help ensure that you get in to the classes you want before they are full.
Meet with your advisor
Your advisor is a great resource in choosing the right classes for your degree. They are also able to assist in identifying resources at NDSU that are available to help you succeed. Advisors are available by phone and email for those who cannot make it to campus.
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Where to Get Textbooks and Other Instructional Materials
Blackboard Learning Management System
Most online classes offered through NDSU Distance and Continuing Education use the learning management system called Blackboard. To log in to Blackboard, enter your user name (usually first.last) and your password. This is the password you changed in the "Enroll Services" process or the default pattern, which was Mmmssyyyy. Once logged in you will see your class listed in Blackboard. Your Blackboard class will generally include a syllabus and instructor contact information. After the class has begun many of your assignments and discussion boards will also be posted there.
Tip: Your class may not be posted in Blackboard until after the first week of classes. If you do not see your class in Blackboard after the first week of classes, contact your instructor.
The NDSU Bookstore is where students should order and purchase textbooks. Textbook orders can be completed online. You may also be able to pick up additional supplies for your classes, such as office and computer supplies. Or show your NDSU spirit in your community by purchasing your NDSU apparel and gifts through the NDSU bookstore.
- NDSU Bookstore: 701-231-7761
- Herd Shop (Convenience, Snacks): 701-231-8214
- Toll Free: 1-800-428-8309
NDSU Library Resources
The NDSU Library has a wealth of resources available to students. Search the library catalog for books and other materials. View their online databases for journal articles and other research materials. The NDSU Library also participates in an interlibrary loan (ILL) system which expands the resources available to NDSU students.
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