While Penn LPS Online courses deliver a high-quality academic experience with added convenience and flexibility, successful online students develop strong skills in organization, teamwork, and time management to complete coursework throughout the week. The path to academic achievement in an online learning environment begins with these steps.
Read the syllabus
Just as in traditional on-campus courses, your online course may require a variety of different types of learning experiences such as assigned readings, lectures, discussions, quizzes, and homework which may include problem sets, discussion prompts, and writing assignments such as reflection papers. Some courses include required or optional synchronous sessions, which are live meetings using a video conferencing tool called Zoom. In each Penn LPS Online course, the syllabus and course site on Penn’s learning management platform explain all of the activities and requirements that are expected in a specific course.
In an online course, class is always open! Assessments, participation, and other learning activities may be assigned throughout the week. Be sure to check the course syllabus early and often.
Participate in the online classroom
All Penn LPS Online courses include a participation requirement; students are expected to actively and meaningfully engage with the course instructor and peers. While participation in an on-campus class means raising your hand and contributing to the discussion, participation in an online course may include a variety of interactions using typed text, audio, and video.
Here are a few examples of what online class participation may look like:
- Posting thoughtful, detailed responses to discussion topics posted by your instructor
- Providing personal insights, experiences, and opinions in response to peers
- Creating and sharing multimedia
- Adding questions to your course site or sending questions to your instructor
- Engaging with your group project
- Attending live meetings
- Connecting with instructor or course assistants for office hours by text chat, audio, or video
Plan ahead and manage your time
First, make sure you have what you need to participate in class effectively. Please review the current system requirements for Penn LPS Online students.
Students can expect to commit 10-15 hours of engagement per class week for a typical 8-week Penn LPS Online course. The “class week” consists of seven days: assigned readings and assignments may be due throughout the week. To meet course goals and deadlines, you will need to plan ahead to manage your time at a pace that works with your personal schedule. For example, you may find that you learn and accomplish more by engaging in coursework consistently throughout each week, rather than trying to complete all of the week’s assignments in one block of time.
Students with previous college experience may be familiar with the pace of a course offered across a 15-week semester. In most cases, Penn LPS Online courses are 8 weeks in length, so the intensity of work is more concentrated than a typical 15-week course. Expect to be about twice as busy.
Example of a week in an online course
Every Penn LPS Online course is designed to reflect the activities and assignments necessary to achieve specific course goals. The following schedule is intended as an example of the diverse activities and assignments that might be included in one 7-day week of an online course.