• Online courses at Webster University are entirely online with absolutely no time spent in the classroom or in person with an instructor. These classes require the student to have regular access to a computer, a printer, the Internet, and a Webster University email account. In addition, students should have the ability to download and upload files.
  • Having more than one reliable source to access the Internet is recommended so that you will know you can participate in your class even if your home computer is unavailable. Backup resources are commonly found at a student's place of work, local library, or community center.
  • Online courses often utilize external links to other Internet sites and downloadable course materials. Students should be comfortable with navigating and searching the Internet as well as being able to save documents to their computers.
  • Online students should be comfortable with navigating the web, sending and receiving email, and downloading and uploading attachments to email. The technology skills learned in an online course will often reflect skills that are necessary in the workplace.
  • The basic software you will need for any class would be a suite of tools such as Microsoft Office which includes Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Other software may be needed but will be identified in the individual class.


– Visit our WorldClassRoom Quick Start Guide.

– Additional tutorials and how-to pages about proper research techniques and guides for computer use can be found on the Internet.

Study Habits & Lifestyle

  • Successful online students log into their course several times a week or as directed by your instructor.
  • You should be willing and able to invest a minimum of 12 to 15 hours per class each week to complete course activities. This time can be whenever it is convenient for you since all of the online classes are conducted in an asynchronous environment. This means there are no particular times set for responses and submissions but there will be weekly deadlines.
  • Since online students have the freedom to choose when to attend an online class, they often require more self-discipline than traditional students. You should make sure you have a quiet area in which to study on a regular basis.
  • You will spend as much or more time working in your online class as you would in a traditional class but you are able to eliminate the scheduled appointment in the physical classroom as well as the commute time that would be involved.
  • Taking an online course requires that you take responsibility for your own learning. You must take the initiative each week to log into your course and interact with the materials and people in your class. You will be responsible for reading the assigned work and applying what you have read to the discussions, papers, and other activities which will be required.


– Set personal and academic goals.

– Create a personal calendar with the due dates for assignments and projects.

– Make sure you have a space for keeping your class materials at hand and for working on your course in a quiet environment which will encourage learning.

Goals & Motivation

  • Online courses require the student to take responsibility for their own learning. Successful online students are self disciplined, highly motivated, and goal-oriented. They make their schoolwork their priority because their course fits into their current goals.
  • Because online courses do not have regular class meetings, it is recommended that students be self-disciplined and avoid procrastination. The student must take the initiative to login to their course at different times each week to participate in course activities.
  • Online instructors will provide a syllabus for each class, which describes in detail the expectations for every student. Students should be able to follow the syllabus and course materials without much direction from the instructor. While instructors will actively facilitate your course and be available for consultation and guidance, most of your course materials will be available at any time of the day. Online students must take responsibility for their own learning and meet the expectations of the course outlined in the syllabus.


– Students should consider keeping track of their progress by matching what they learn against course objectives.

– Students should set realistic and measurable goals which can be monitored throughout their course. Goal-oriented students often are more motivated and reward themselves after successful course completion.

– Students should know why they are pursuing the current course of study and not lose sight of their goals.

Learning Preferences

  • Your avenue for communication with your instructor and classmates will be through the use of the online tools provided in the class and on the Internet. You will use tools such as email, chats, blogs, and discussion boards to communicate in your course. You should feel comfortable with using these methods to ask for clarification on assignments or even to discuss with your instructor a need for special consideration if you start to feel overwhelmed.
  • A major component of most online courses is a discussion forum where the students and instructor discuss the course readings. Most online students are surprised to find out that they enjoy online interaction with other students. Additional interactions take place through email and chat rooms, which are great mediums to discuss coursework and materials at a distance.
  • You have the freedom to choose when you want to "attend" class and when you want to study.
  • You will have access to learning from movies, presentations, and lectures. You will also learn a lot from your fellow students in the class as they share their experiences about the topics being discussed.
  • There will be no face-to-face interaction with the class or the instructor so you will need to be able to express your thoughts and feelings properly in words via your submissions. An advantage of online learning is that you will have plenty of time to organize your thoughts prior to presenting them to your instructor and class.


– Set yourself up for success by creating your own schedule for attending class.

– Improve your communication skills by writing and rewriting articles you might want to post.

– Create relationships in your class by chatting or emailing with classmates with whom you might have something in common. There is no need to feel alone in an online class. Many online students feel that they form stronger relationships with their online peers than they do in traditional classroom settings.


  • In online classes, writing is the primary method of communication. Successful students write with ease to express their thoughts, share ideas, and ask questions.
  • It is essential for online students to read and write at a college level. Textbooks, articles, and journals written at a college level are the primary source of content in online classes. The bulk of work that is completed in an online course will be reading the materials and the discussion postings by your instructor and classmates. In addition, you will be creating and submitting detailed responses to the discussion board postings as well as composing papers and documents that reflect the level of instruction that you are receiving.
  • Online courses often require students to think critically about what they are reading and then express their opinions about the reading in all areas of the course i.e., discussions, blogs, article reviews, research papers, etc.
  • Often online courses come with specific written directions that students will need to follow to be successful with the assignments. However, students should feel comfortable contacting their instructors if they have any questions.


– Online writing assistance is available to Webster University students attending classes. For more information, please visit our Online Writing Center.

– Online students are most successful if they are able to apply course content to course activities. You should also feel free to integrate your own knowledge and experiences with course content and share those with other students and instructors.

– Investigate these resources for tips on writing:
Writing at the College Level
Purdue Online Writing Lab