5 Tips for Online Students

Viterbi is the #1 distance education program in the country. Our online program, called DEN@Viterbi, offers a wide range of classes in each department. From what I’ve noticed, all of my BME on-campus classes are offered as DEN classes too with the exception of those that require labs. It’s a great program for working professionals or those who can’t be a full-time student but want a degree.

Unfortunately, tuition is more or less the same whether you go through DEN or you attend classes on-campus. A DEN class does offer top-notch technology used in the classroom so that taking an online class feels almost no different than an on-campus one. Recorded lectures have great audio-visual qualities including recorded handwritten explanations by the professors. All documents are available through the Desire2Learn website, and most questions can be answered via email. There aren’t too many online discussions required in engineering courses which is nice because it frees you up to focus on the exams and homeworks just like on-campus students.

From my DEN peers, here are 5 tips to help you be a successful DEN student:

1. Introduce yourself on the “Introductions” thread of the online course and reach out to other DEN students even if study groups or online introductions are not required for your grade. You might meet other students there and form an email study group. As we all know, study groups are essential for success and more so when you have a full-time job.

2. Get to know students by talking about things unrelated to class even in web conference meetings, just like you would if you met in person. This makes it easier and more fun to work with your group.

3. Be sure to tell your TA and professor that you’re a DEN student and don’t be afraid to ask them a lot of questions via email! Remember, email responses take time (1-2 days) so plan for that. Better yet, arrange a video conference with your TA/professor during office hours for more efficient communication and so they can put a face to a name.

4. Try to connect with at least one on-campus student so you know what’s going on.

5. If you can, watch a lecture live using the videoconferencing tool under “DEN Students” tab on the course website. The benefit here is that you can dial the phone number listed at the beginning of the lecture video (or email DEN support if you login late) and call in and ask a question to the professor directly. You’ll first reach a DEN coordinator who will then place your call to the professor. 

P.S. Always, always always catch up on all lecture videos before an exam! The professor always gives a couple hints.

Published on May 2nd, 2017

Last updated on August 16th, 2018