This page provides tips, suggestions, and resources on how to learn online and become a self-motivated online student. To succeed in this transition, we encourage you to concentrate on three areas:

  1. Stay Healthy: Take care of your physical and mental well-being. Stay positive.
  2. Get Ready: Prepare your online course environment. Prepare your computer and internet access and familiarize yourself with Blackboard and Zoom. Don’t guess. Ask for help.
  3. Be Flexible: Adjust to your course’s requirements, expectations, and changes—and keep in touch with your instructor and classmates. Stay engaged.

Get Ready

Getting Ready to Learn Remotely
  • Keep up with ODU’s COVID-19 updates, and be aware of student services offered online. Read university emails and communicate with your instructors if you have questions.
  • Review the Student Online Readiness Survey (PDF) to check your preparedness. (Your instructor may also post it in Blackboard.)
  • Make sure you have a stable internet connection and that your computer and logins work. Ask for tech support if you discover any limitations or needs.

  • Your instructor is likely to use one of the two delivery mode options – Synchronous or Asynchronous – or perhaps a mix of the two. You should be able to access your course content, attend a lecture, participate in a discussion, complete activities and assignments, and take your exams, among other tasks.

    Note: A few publishers are providing free access to eTextbooks through the remainder of the Spring.

    Mode Access your course content Attend/listen to your class lectures Participate in class discussion Assignments Take your exams Requirements Technology
    Synchronous mode

    Review posted content material (PowerPoint, readings, etc.) in Blackboard.

    Read the required readings

    Attend lectures in real time using Zoom during regular course hours Use chat to ask questions

    Use Blackboard to submit assignments

    Use ProctorU or LockDown Browser for exams

    Complete exams in Blackboard at your chosen time/ within a time frame.

    Complete proctored exams at a specific time

    Might require attendance during live lectures. (Check with your instructor)


    Internet access

    Familiarity with Blackboard, Zoom, LockDown Browser, ProctorU


    Review posted content material (PowerPoints, etc.) in Blackboard.

    Read the required readings

    Watch and/or listen to recorded lectures Use discussion board in Blackboard to ask questions, reply to classmate’s posts

    Use Blackboard to submit assignments

    Use ProctorU or LockDown Browser for exams

    Complete exams in Blackboard at your chosen time/ within a time frame

    Complete proctored exams at a specific time

    Review course materials, submit assignments, take exams and listen to lectures at your chosen time/within a time frame


    Internet access

    Familiarity with Blackboard, Zoom, LockDown Browser, ProctorU

Ask for Help

Support Organizations

Technical Support
Phone: 757-683-3192 or 1-877-348-6503 (toll free)
Distance Learning
Phone: 1-800-968-2638
Phone: 757-683-3699
Phone: 757-683-4178
Phone: 757-683-4655
ODU Counseling Services
Phone: 757-683-4401
Student outreach and support
Phone: 757-683-3442
Tutoring & Academic Support Resources
Phone: 757-683-3699

Technical Support

Technical Support
Phone: 757-683-3192 or 1-877-348-6503 (toll free)

Check your basic tech requirements

To access your online courses, you will need:

  • A device (computer, laptop, tablet) that meets ODU’s minimum requirements
  • Stable high-speed internet access (DSL, cable, home)
  • Current versions of a web browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome

Be sure to check your browser using the ODU Browser Check.

Get familiar with Blackboard

If you have not used Blackboard before, you will want to get familiar with it:

Test your Zoom connection before your first class:

  • Test your computer, microphone, and camera before your first-class session:
  • Complete the online Zoom tutorial:
  • Conduct a Zoom test run before your class: create a trial meeting with a classmate or a friend, and test all the different options – join a meeting, share your screen, mute your mic, etc.
  • Make sure that your computer battery is full or that your computer is connected to the charger

Internet and Mobile Carrier Options

FCC agreement states that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hotspots.

  • Charter: Offering free Access to Spectrum Broadband and Wi-Fi For 60 Days
  • Comcast: Offering free Wi-Fi for 2 months to low-income families
  • Cox: Offering limited-time, first two months free of Connect2Compete service, $9.95/month after that
  • Xfinity: Offering free access out-of-home Wi-Fi hotspots
  • AT&T Mobile: Offering open public hot spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans for low-income households.
  • Sprint Mobile: Offering unlimited data to existing customers, and, since March 17, Sprint Mobile is allowing all phones to enable hot spots for 60 days at no extra charge.
  • T-Mobile: Offering unlimited data to existing customers, and T-Mobile will allow all phones to enable hot spots for 60 days at no extra charge.
  • Verizon Wireless: No special offers, but following the FCC agreement.

Learn Remotely

How to Adjust Your Study Habits to Keep Learning Remotely
  • Your instructors are working hard to figure out how best to move face-to-face classes online. Expect ongoing changes as instructors and students adjust to the new learning environment. Be patient, flexible, and understanding, since some technologies or activities may not work as planned. Be helpful to other students, too. And of course, ask questions if you don’t understand something.

  • Before you prepare your weekly schedule for your learning, you need to answer the following questions for each course that you are taking:

    • Is your instructor lecturing live during regular class time using a web conferencing tool, like Zoom?
    • Are you expected to attend the live session? What time?
    • Do you know how to access the links to watch the live stream?
    • Is your computer ready (bandwidth, camera, microphone) to access/view the live stream?
    • What changes were made to your course schedule, in terms of assignments and deadlines?
    • What are the new due dates for assignments?
    • How are you going to submit your assignments (Blackboard, email)?
    • How are you going to take your quizzes and exams?
    • Do you know how to ask for help?

    Once you have answered these questions, prepare a schedule like this one:

      Class 1 Class 2 Class 3
    Access to live lecture      
    Access to a recorded lecture      
    Changes to assignments      
    Major due dates      

    • Practice healthy habits, including sleeping and eating well, and moving or exercising regularly
    • Build regular breaks into your schedule:
    • Communicate with your instructor regularly, and check your email and Blackboard announcement daily. If you don’t understand the content or an assignment, or if you just need extra help, don’t guess. Ask questions that will be useful for your learning.
    • Stay connected with your classmates and friends.
    • Reduce your news consumption and seek news from reliable sources.
    • Avoid procrastination. Don’t wait until the last minute. You may encounter hurdles as you complete your work.
    • Keep a regular schedule. Dedicate consistent blocs of time to each course based on the overall course workload.
    • Make a good study plan: watch this video and prepare your plan. See example:

    Time Scheduled Activity Course Tasks Personal Self-care
    7:00 – 7:30     Breakfast
    7:30 – 8:00   Prepare for course  
    8:00 – 9:00 Watch live lecture    
    9:00 – 10:00   Read Chapter 7  
    10:00 – 10:30     Break – Video call with a friend
    10:30 – 12:00   Work on project  

  • You will need to use effective time management – both to prevent yourself from falling behind and to develop a consistent routine for completing coursework.

    Watch these two short videos on how to manage your time:

  • Cognitive science research has demonstrated that multitasking is a myth.

    You might have the impression that you’re able to multitask, but in reality, you are just switching from one task to another.

    Multitasking is a myth, says McGill University Psychology Professor Daniel Levitin

    Multitasking leads you to spend more time on assignments. (For example, every time you switch your focus from your reading to check social media, you’re wasting time getting back into your reading.)

    Multitasking can cause you to make mistakes – and to remember less.

    As you study, focus on one task at a time, while taking occasional breaks.

  • You must keep up with your instructor and with University emails. Make sure to read them carefully, and ask questions if you don’t understand something. In a fluid situation like the one that we are all experiencing, communicating with your instructor is key to a successful transition.
  • Provide instructors with your Accomodation Letter, if you have a registered disability. And if you encounter any unanticipated barriers in the online learning environment (such as a need for video transcripts or assistive technologies), please contact the Office of Educational Accessibility.

    Keep your instructor informed about your accessibility needs, as well.

  • Keep in mind that the same Honor Code and academic integrity rules apply to online students as to face-to-face students. If you cheat or plagiarize, you will fail the assignment – if not the entire online course. You will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct & Academic Integrity and you will have to follow its procedures.

    To further your skills at practicing academic integrity, visit

Frequently Asked Questions

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