Distance Learning FAQs


This is intended to give students who are new to an online learning environment a brief introduction to issues and skills involved in becoming successful as an online learner.

Online learning may be referred to by several different titles, including distance education, online education, online learning, eLearning, and web-based education.

As an NCalU student you must adopt all of the following behaviors and practices: Purchase access to ALL books for your course at least 1 week before class; Logon to OPEN at least 3-5 times a week and visit each course every time;

  1. Complete all assigned work and assignments in the week in which they are due;
  2. It is the student's responsibility to read the information provided;
  3. Ask questions about what is expected if you are unsure;
  4. Participate fully in every learning opportunity
  5. Review all the content at the links below and ASK if you do not understand

However you or your instructors choose to refer to it, this environment offers unique challenges and unique opportunities. As you read through this introduction, begin to anticipate how these issues may impact you and how you learn. These ideas are not ”magic bullets” that can transform you into a model student overnight. Rather, they help to point out common situations faced by online learners. Some may help you formulate your own strategies and practices. Others may not be relevant to your situation. Some will introduce you to the unique environment of online learning through Northern California University.

Our hope is that this guide will make you more aware of the experience you are about to have, and provide some guidance on how you can best adjust to it.


  • Managing Time
  • Balancing Responsibilities and Setting Priorities
  • Managing Stress

Student Accountability

  • Understand Expectations
  • Proactively Seek Clarification
  • Become an “Active Learner”
  • Develop Self-Discipline
  • Set Goals
  • Ask for What You Need

Online Communication Skills

  • Writing Clearly
  • Consider Alternative Views
  • Responding vs. Reacting
  • Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Environments
  • Online ‘Community’
  • Building a “Classroom” Environment
  • Building Community Resources

Technology Considerations

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Internet Connection

Study Habits and Skills

  • Know Yourself and Your Learning Style
  • Recognize Others’ Learning Styles
  • Identifying Study Skills
  • General Strategies for Different Learning Styles
  • Reading Strategies
  • Memorization Strategies

Special Student Rights and Responsibilities

  • Accessibility Issues
  • Privacy Issues