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USF St. Petersburg campus Guide to Online Learning


Welcome to the USF St. Petersburg campus Guide to Online Learning! This guide will help introduce you to the skills and technologies you will need to become a successful online student.

What is Online Learning?

Online Learning is education delivered via a computer, using the Internet via a web-browser, and perhaps another software for coursework, video or audio files. All lectures and needed materials are provided via the online platform Canvas.

Online learning means that the students may be able to start completing the assignments at any time after a session begins, and can arrange a learning schedule that meets their individual needs. However, many online classes require students to move through the material at scheduled intervals. This type of course does not typically require attending sessions on campus. This type of learning requires the student to take responsibility for directing their own learning.

Here are some tips from Daryl Davis, an online student:

A Typical Online Course

In many ways, our online courses resemble traditional, classroom courses except there is more flexibility in scheduling your time to participate in the course. In each course, you should expect:

  • A course syllabus with contact information
  • Weekly course content
  • Assignments, quizzes and exams
  • Discussion questions
  • Checklists and reminders

During the week, you will:

  • View or download materials
  • Post responses to discussion questions and reply to others
  • Engage in conversations with the instructor and other students
  • Submit assignments
  • Complete quizzes and exams
  • Retrieve your graded work

For online learning, participation through the course communication tools is critical. To this end, online participation usually makes up 30% to 40% of students’ final grades. Instructors provide feedback on your participation to further your learning along the way.

Skills for Success

The following are basic skills needed to be a successful online student. Review the pages within this guide to get more information and tips.

  • Time Management
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Technology