Preparing for Your Online Course

Before you start your online course, you should make sure that you have all the necessary information and course materials and that your computer meets the minimum requirements.

  1. Does your computer meet the minimum system requirements? See the guide What are the browser and computer requirements for Canvas?

  2. Do you have reliable high-speed internet?
    • You will need regular access to reliable high-speed internet in order to successfully meet online course expectations, including the ability to view streaming video and download or upload files and assignments.

    • You should have your Internet provider’s telephone number and technical support available in case you encounter problems.

    • Have a backup plan in case of unexpected internet service interruptions. For example a friend or relative’s house, the local library, coming to campus, or another alternative location where you can use the internet if needed.

  3. Have you registered for the online course you wish to take?

  4. Purchase your textbooks. Some courses may require an access code to get into the course. The access code will be bundled with the course textbook. Your instructor will provide information about using this access code.

  5. Some courses may require that you have certain software or plug-ins installed on your computer. Software requirements may include the ability to view/edit Microsoft Word or PowerPoint files. See your course syllabus for required course materials.

  6. Check your Hawkeye email regularly. Important information will be sent to you via your Hawkeye email including any additional information your instructor wishes to send for you to prepare for your online course. It is important to regularly check your Hawkeye email before your online class starts and during the semester.

  7. If you live near Waterloo, stop by Main Campus to get your Hawkeye student ID card and parking pass. You will need your Hawkeye student ID to check out physical materials from the Library for assignments and for other services that are available to students.

  8. Make a plan on how you will manage your time. Good time-management skills and the ability to establish and follow priorities are two very important skills for success in an online course.

    • As a general rule, you should expect to devote approximately three hours per credit hour per week to be successful in your course, whether it be a face-to-face, online, or hybrid course. That’s about 9–12 hours per week for a 3-credit course.

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