Online learning is different from learning in a traditional, face-to-face classroom setting. Students succeed in online courses when they access their course materials regularly, communicate when they are having problems, participate effectively in all elements of the class and stay on top of their course requirements. Reflect on the self-management qualities below and see whether online courses are a good fit for you.

1. Self-awareness

Know yourself and be honest with yourself. What do you really want? A goal you choose for yourself is much easier to achieve than one that is imposed on you. What are your strengths? Play to those!

2. Goal Setting and Planning

Be clear about what you want to end up with (whether large or small) and figure out your path to get there – whether it is a simple to-do list or a complex project plan.

3. Positivity

Making a plan helps with this, but it is good to go in with a positive attitude. Don’t dwell on what could wrong – ask yourself “what if this works?” See the possibilities!

4. Problem Solving and Flexibility

Life never runs perfectly smoothly and there are always things that are outside of your control. Remember: There are always other ways to approach things – look at hitches in the plan as new opportunities to explore! It’s a “crisitunity,” as Homer Simpson would say! Keep your perspective in focus and keep going.

5. Responsibility and Integrity

Willingness to take responsibility for projects and accountability for problems is a skill that employers want and it makes any project run more smoothly. Recognize that you are the one who needs to step up to keep things on track. Made a mistake? Own it and fix it. Integrity means considering your actions, having consistent values and striving to behave fairly.

6. Communication

The more you communicate with other team members, friends, peers and instructors, the better. Working in isolation means you miss new information. Keep in touch and skip the mystery.

7. Decision Making

The time will come when you have to make a call. It’s a scary step, but trust yourself and make it. Gather information and think it over, but don’t hesitate too much or you could bring a project to a grinding halt.

8. Self-care

Don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way. Have perspective and recognize when you are working too hard. Take breaks. Socialize. Make sure you get sleep. Use stress relief techniques. Get help when you need it. Add a little nature time to your life. Celebrate your own successes.

9. Confidence

Recognize that you deserve what you have achieved and you can claim it.  If you have some negative self-talk going on, turn it around. Being confident helps others trust you and helps you trust yourself.

10. Respect for Others

You will have mentors, friends and team members along the way. Realize that they have useful contributions to make, learn to trust and delegate, and enjoy what they add to your life.

By Greg Guevara with contributions from Carleton Online