No two courses are created equally, but all courses succeed with the support and participation of its learning community.
To recap, online courses can be more challenging and demand more of your time than face-to-face classes because they require you to actively participate in weekly activities such as reading articles, watching lecture recordings/videos, and contributing to discussion forums and group assignments. Your level of involvement and engagement in the course will ultimately determine its success. The more committed you and your peers are to the learning process, the tighter your learning community will become, and the more rewarding the experience will be.
It is important to recognize, however, that no two courses are created equally, and so the activities you find in one might be vastly different from another. The onus, therefore, is on you to become self-directed in your learning and to find the resources and the rhythm that works for you in each course.
It may be helpful to talk to others who have taken an online class and consider the tips they have about how to succeed as a remote learner. The following are important to remember:
Read the Syllabus - It will include an outline of the course and all the information you need about assignments and due dates.
Communicate - Reach out to your instructor, the TA, and your classmates. If something in the syllabus is not clear or if you have questions, do not hesitate to ask. Send an email or call someone who knows. It is also important to check your USask email regularly so that you don't miss important updates about your online course.
Navigate - Get to know the Learning Management System (LMS) that your class is being offered in. There are presently two LMSs being used at USask: Canvas, which is being phased in, and Blackboard, which is being phased out. Spend some time navigating through all the menu items like the Syllabus, the Announcement and Discussion Boards, Assignments, Course Materials, Quizzes, and so on.
Participate - Most importantly, remember to actively participate, and ask for help when you need it.
This video offers a good summary of the things to be aware of as a remote learner. Heed the advice and you will be sure to succeed.