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Guidelines for Success

While there are no magic formulas for success, there are some guidelines that should be followed:

  • One of the most important components for success in a independent-learning course is time management. A certain amount of time should be set aside on a routine basis. Try to study at the time of day when your concentration is at its highest.
  • Our three-hour courses contain between twelve and twenty modules and two or three exams. A module is not a single study session; it is the equivalent of approximately a week in semester-based class on campus.  As a rough guide, seven to ten hours should be allocated per module for each course. In addition, leave time to incorporate the instructor’s feedback and to prepare for the exams.
  • Pace your work.  Online Distance Learning courses are not shortcut courses, scaled-down courses, or credit by examination.  They cover the same amount and depth of material as the same course on campus.  Work steadily rather than attempt to cram your learning into a short period of time.
  • Plan your course completion schedule with care so that you have plenty of time to submit all module assignments and have your exams completed before the date when you need your final grade.
  • Study for your exams. Completing the module assignments is only one step in learning the material and should not be your only preparation for the exam. You must study and learn the material for the exam.
  • Use the help that is available:
    • Each course contains a syllabus that explains the instructor's expectations. Be certain to read and follow this information. In addition, scan the course to see if any supplementary work—such as field work, interviews, book reviews, or term papers—is involved.
    • The instructor will grade the assignments and provide feedback. Be certain to read the feedback and use it to improve subsequent lessons.
    • Keep a back-up copy of all assignments that you submit.

What to avoid


  • Do not order textbooks before logging in to the course material. Although we try to ensure that the information on this site is accurate, there are times when the textbooks change between course activation dates.
  • Do not complete all lessons at one time under any circumstances. Learning is a step-by-step process that will be greatly enhanced by working at a reasonable pace and reviewing graded work.
  • Do not rely too heavily on your textbook when doing your lesson assignments. To be prepared for an exam, you must learn the material assigned by your instructor in the course guide, not just look answers up in the textbook.
  • Do not wait until the last minute to take your exams, as it might not be possible to get your final grade in time to meet your deadline. Your final exam should be completed and received in our office well in advance of your deadline. Do not discard your study materials or sell your textbook until your final course grade has been posted.