Tips for Online Learning

Follow the 4 Ps!

If you’re attending UT Permian Basin online, you face unique challenges. But if you follow the four Ps of online learning success—Preparation, Participation, Persistence, and Patience—you’ll learn more and go further.


  • It is your responsibility to contact the instructor before the first day of the session. Think of it as showing up on the first day of class for roll call. The contact information is in the syllabus and the online directory.
  • Arrange for regular, dependable Internet access at home, or find a reliable location for connectivity.
  • Review the technical requirements (from FalconOnline).
  • Get textbooks, study guides, software, and other course materials listed in the syllabus. Most materials are listed at the UTPB Bookstore (in the courtyard of the Mesa Building on campus). Look up your term, course, and section for correct materials.
  • Login to my.utpb.edu.
  • Set up your Canvas profile and notifications.
  • Your UTPB email is active when you're enrolled in classes. With UTPB email, you get Microsoft Office 365—which includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and other applications.
  • On the first day of class, your course appears on the Canvas Dashboard. Spend time finding your way around the class. Figure out what links/buttons do and about the tools.
  • Make sure you read the syllabus for the course carefully. It will answer most of the questions you have about how to succeed in the course.
  • Review all the help files your instructor lists in the syllabus—especially for special plug-ins or software needed for the course.
  • Download and/or print pages for reference and review when you are offline.
  • Go through any tutorials provided or set up any special accounts such as:
    • Smarthinking, inside Canvas, offers online tutoring sessions.


  • Contact the instructor before the first day of the session. Get acquainted. Let it be known you are there!
  • Actively participate. Share information. Join discussions. Ask questions of your instructor and other students. Use email, chat, and discussion boards.
  • Look for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Chances are someone has asked the same question you have.
  • Remember, your fellow classmates can often answer your questions as quickly and accurately as the instructor can.
  • Form virtual study groups with your classmates. Share notes, tips, helpful suggestions, and ask questions.
  • Even if you think your solution is obvious, someone in the class will appreciate your sharing it.
  • Read your course syllabus thoroughly, refer to it often, and stay in close contact with your instructor and fellow classmates.


  • Keep contact information handy and use it.
  • If you have trouble with the technology, contact the 24/7 Help Desk or call the instructor at the phone number in the syllabus.
  • If you have a question, ask it.  
  • Take note of information that is confusing or unclear, then seek out the answers from your instructor and fellow classmates. Be proactive, don’t wait.
  • If you run into difficulties, contact your instructor immediately. Most problems are easily solved, but you have to bring them up first.
  • If technical problems come up in your online course in Canvas, contact Canvas Help at (866) 437-0867.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to complete your assignments and prepare for tests. Treat your online course with the same dedication and effort you would devote to in-person courses.
  • Stay updated on your weekly assignments. Most online courses have regular schedules.
  • Use the online course calendar to carefully plan your schedule and stick to it, making special notes of required assignments or tests.


  • Be patient with yourself. Allow extra time to learn course content or new technical skills that may be unfamiliar.
  • Be patient with your classmates. Show respect in your communication with them—whether by email, in chat, or on discussion boards. Remember, there is a real person on the other side. If you disagree with someone, don't flame them by lashing out with harsh words or typing in ALL CAPS.
  • Before you send any communication to the class, read it over. They can’t see your face or read your body language, so your written communication is very important. Be clear, succinct, and respectful.