Tips for Online Learners
Tips for Online Learners
You will need access to a computer, Internet access, and an NAU e-mail account before the term begins. See system requirements for more information on the computer hardware and software we recommend. You are responsible for maintaining your own computer for the duration of the term, but you can get help through our Student Technology Center. During Fall and Spring terms they are open 24 hours a day, and you can reach them by phone at 888.520.7215 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Limited hours during Summer and Winter terms.)
Textbooks and Materials
Order your textbooks early—having required readings available on the first day of a course is very important for your success as an online student. You can find out what textbooks you need by calling the NAU Bookstore two months before the term begins at 800.426.7674. You can order texts through the NAU Bookstore, an online retailer, or through a local bookstore. You may also check with community college bookstores to see if they carry the materials you need.
NAU’s Cline Library offers a comprehensive online selection of academic resources. The Ask a Librarian tool allows you to get in touch with a specialist via chat, email, text messaging, and more. For further service information please contact Cline Library at 800.247.3380 or 928.523.6805.
NAU offers AZTutor Online Tutoring for Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Composition, Math and Statistics. The tutoring is available Sunday through Thursday only during Fall and Spring terms. For more information, contact our Student Learning Centers at 928.523.5524.
A comfortable and efficient study space is very important in online learning. If you are studying at home, it is important to have a good chair and desk to work at, along with a properly functioning computer monitor and good lighting. If you use other workspaces such as a library or computer lab, sort out your bookings in advance to ensure you have access when you need it.
Commit as much time to your online course as other courses you are taking. You should expect to spend at least 135 hours/term on each 3-credit class (which would be 9 hours/week for a 15-week class or 27 hours/week for a 5-week class). Schedule your "class time" just as if you were physically going to class on campus.
Both bbLearn and Vista will be unavailable every Thursday morning from 2am to 6am (AZ Mountain Time) for regular maintenance. Please plan your online coursework accordingly.
Log in to class on the first day of instruction! Continue to log in as frequently as the instructor recommends - this keeps you up to date with the latest messages and other information. Although classes will have different requirements about how frequently you log in, making it a daily habit helps you stay on top.
Use self-discipline to keep up with assignments: don't get behind! If an instructor doesn't give a lot of due dates, make your own deadlines to help you up set a good pace to finish on time.
Remember that your instructor cannot see you, so you must be very direct and clear with your questions and requests. If you are having problems understanding something about the course, you need to speak up. Find out if your instructor prefers you to email, post a discussion, or call with questions. Allow a reasonable amount of time for your instructor to respond.
Refine Your Writing Skills
Writing skills are particularly important in online learning, because in most cases the only impression of you that people will have is based on your writing. If you have difficulty writing clearly, you may wish to see what resources are available in your community, possibly through a community college or other continuing education program. Also, AZTutor tutoring service for Composition is provided to help student with content, major grammar issues, and mechanics of writing.