Online Academic Success Guide

Alright Mavs – you got this!

We know that moving into an online working and learning environment is not everyone's first choice, and that it has its own unique set of challenges.  It is helpful to keep a growth mindset during challenging times.  And we’re here to support you. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips and resources to help you succeed in your online journey. Click the icons below for more help!


Navigating Online Classes Time Management Communication Organization
Staying Focused Study Habits Technology Support


Click here for more anwers to questions related to the University's response to COVID-19 in Spring and Summer 2020.
Want a printable copy of more tips for online success?  Click HERE.

Time Management

Even in an online learning environment, you will still have a similar amount of classwork and needed study time, just without the formal classroom and campus setting. A set schedule can help provide structure and keep you motivated.

  • Create a weekly & daily calendar to organize your course schedule, study time, and free time. Check these helpful tips for time management.
  • Log-in daily and follow your course schedule as if you were attending in person. Add study time to your calendar for each course.
  • Keep up with the course content. Don’t let lectures or course content stack-up, which can cause you to become overwhelmed.
  • Build a daily schedule that plays to your strengths! If you’re a morning person, schedule your coursework and study time in the AM. Make sure you build in time for breaks, meals, and plenty of rest.
  • Wake up and go to bed about the same time every day, if possible, so that you can stay on track.  

Navigating Online Classes 

All online courses at UT Arlington will be delivered using Canvas.  You can learn more about how to use this tool on our Canvas Student Resources page.  It is a great idea to spend some time getting comfortable with the new learning environment.  If you are not sure how to begin in this environment, you can find some great resources to help you understand how to use Canvas here.  Each link is a YouTube video that will walk you through a specific function that you will be doing in Canvas.  Check it out!

A common question is "what does is mean if my course is synchronous or asynchronous?"  Simple definitions of these are:

Synchronous – There is ‘virtual class time.’ Similar to attending class in-person, all students see, hear, and engage with each other at the same time online.  This is the preference for all UTA courses in Canvas.  

Asynchronous – Learning takes place at different times. Instructors will create and distribute content (video lectures, PowerPoints, assignments, etc.) ahead of time. They may ask students to engage in discussion boards or group chats as part of course requirements.

Online courses are very different from in person classes, but YOU ARE A MAVERICK!  You can do this!!  Here is some additional encouragement from one of UTA's outstanding faculty, Dr. Peggy Semingson.  



Check your email and Canvas daily for updates from faculty and administration.  Additionally, other campus offices such as Financial Aid and Advising, are operating using Microsoft Teams.  Find out more about Teams at UTA here.

Communicate potential challenges early! For example – If you are in a different time zone, email your instructor and inform them of the time difference.

Attend online Office Hours with your instructor to ask questions, discuss course content, or seek guidance.

Need Help? We’re here for you! The Academic Success Center provides virtual tutoring and academic coaching.

Organization Suggestions

Create a folder on your desktop for each class. Download the syllabi, assignments, and any other course documents and put them in the individual class folder.

Label each folder with your class name. EX: MATH1300

Create a daily To-Do List to manage and prioritize tasks and deadlines. Work backward from your professor’s due dates and create daily tasks that keep you on schedule.

Staying Focused

Find a designated work area free from distractions that allows you to focus.  You can also use noise blocking headsets or other devices to limit distractions.  

Close distracting tabs and programs that may shift your focus away from the designated task.

Put your cell phone away during class and study time. Give yourself technology breaks throughout the day to catch up on texts and social media.

Study Habits

Maintain your good academic habits & create new ones. Recreate your favorite study routine at home–curl up in an arm chair, enjoy a cup of coffee, or turn on your favorite study music.

1. Take notes – even if your instructor provides lecture notes! The more time you put into preparing strong notes, the better prepared you’ll be for exams.

2. Watch recordings at normal speed and remember that you can pause & re-watch sections of pre-recorded videos and lectures to make sure you master the content.

3. Avoid multi-tasking. Trying to do multiple things at once takes focus away from being great at each unique task.

4. Stay focused on the task for at least 30-45 minutes (have you heard of the Pomodoro technique?) and then reward yourself with a 5-minute cell phone or social media break.

5. If you study better in groups, schedule a study group on Teams or Skype with classmates or friends. Stay connected to others with GroupMe, Google Hangout, and other platforms.

Additional Technology Questions

Students can find answers to common technology questions at the UTA Remote page for Students.  If you need to know about labs on the UTA campus, or access to specific types of software, or even how to download and install Teams, you will find it all there.  

FAQs about Spring and Summer 2020 online

Want to know the University's latest responses to the COVID-19 situation?  Find your answers on UTA's coronavirus FAQ page for students. Topics include online classes, housing, refunds, and others.

The Central Library is closed to all but laptop lending, but its virtual services have expanded. Read about laptop lending and get help with your research needs.  

The UTA Bookstore is currently offering curbside delivery. Employees will be in the store to answer phones and customers' questions. Follett is also offering free shipping to online customers.

Counseling and Psychological Services' on-call counseling staff are available 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Call 817-272-3671 to plan a consultation. If this is an emergency, please call 911 or the MavsTalk 24-hour crisis line at 817-272-8255.

  • Division of Student Success

    Graduation Help Desk

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    Location: Ransom Hall 203


    Phone: 817-272-5740

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  • Mailing Address:

    The University of Texas at Arlington

    Division of Student Success

    Graduation Help Desk

    Arlington, TX 76019


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