Succeeding as a Distance Education Student

How to Succeed as a Distance Education Student

Ø  Check your ECU email account regularly and often. Here is where you will get important notices from ECU and MTL, including information about course offerings, priority registration, etc. Here is where you will hear from your adviser and your individual professors about coursework, CAPs, etc.  If you go for long periods of time without checking your ECU email acct., you are likely to miss some very important stuff and drive your professors bonkers!

Ø  Keep up with the Academic Calendar. You can find it on the ECU Homepage ( click on the calendar icon on the little toolbar in the upper left (where the Bb icon is) and select Academic Calendar.  Here you will find all the important dates for Registration, deadlines for dropping courses without a grade or completing incompletes, etc.

Ø  Locate Blackboard and familiarize yourself with the Bb Student Support Center.

Go to the ECU Homepage ( and click on the Bb icon at the upper left of the page (where you also find the OneStop icon that takes you Banner). Select Student Support Center and explore it thoroughly. You may also be interested in the Bb Facebook Support Group, where you can share problems, get answers to FAQs, etc. (Most MTL professors use Blackboard for their DE classes. Occasionally though, a professor may use a Website of his/her own design. )

Ø  Log in to Bb using your Pirate ID and password. A page will come up that lists the courses you are taking. Click on the course titles to access your classes.  Note that a class you have just registered for will not show up on this page until your professor has made it available.  Some professors don’t make courses available until just before the semester starts; others will make their classes available much earlier so that you can get a head start.  Keep checking regularly.

Ø  Review each entire Blackboard course site carefully at the beginning of the course. Each professor uses the Bb platform differently, so it may take you some time to familiarize yourself with the course layout.  Some professors post specific assignments on a weekly basis; others will have the whole course up from the beginning.  Either way, you want to click on every menu button and open every folder to discover the wonders available for your use.

Ø  Download materials from Bb ahead of time. If Bb goes down or you lose your internet connection, you’ll have what you need. Download by right clicking on the document title; this is much faster than opening a document inside Bb and then saving it.

Ø  Save all your own work obsessively and back it up often to an external storage device. Most professors will not accept computer glitches or crashes as excuses for late work.

Ø  Save all the work you do in your classes until you have finished your degree. It’s especially important to save papers with your professors’ comments and grades. You will have evidence if there should be a grade dispute or the professor loses his/her grade book or computer in a hurricane (been there!). You will also be able to track your own progress as a writer and critic and thus make better use of your education and maximize your experience with the CAP. If you choose the Portfolio CAP, you will need these marked papers for the portfolio itself.  In addition, when it comes time to request recommendation letters from your professors, those marked, graded essays help your professors write standout letters with lots of specifics!

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