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Online Experience for our Distance Students

Online programs at Cleveland State University are designed for highly motivated individuals who want the flexibility of distance learning. The majority of our courses are offered in an asynchronous format, so you don't have to put your personal and professional life on hold while you earn your degree and develop your career to its fullest potential. Classes are taught by the same faculty who teach on campus, and most of our instructors have the highest degree available in their field.

Although not on campus, you will virtually interact with faculty and other students directly through the use of course tools such as email, discussions, group activities and web conferences.

Online learning is convenient, but it also requires the right attitude and work ethic to succeed. Prior to enrolling in an online program or your first online course, it will be helpful to read our tips for being a successful online learner.


Assess Your Readiness for Learning

Prepare yourself to work hard. Most students find online courses to be convenient but a lot of work. Plan specific times and places you will work on the course without distractions.

Read All Course Information Clearly

Though online courses often include audio and video, they are still very text intensive. Read through all course requirements, policies and procedures carefully. It is your responsibility to know this information. If something is unclear to you, ask your instructor as soon as possible.

Pay Close Attention to the Course Calendar

Study the course calendar and note the due dates. It is a misconception that online classes are completely self-paced. Class discussions typically occur during a specific time frame. Assignments will need to be completed by the due date. Note these important dates and notify your instructor as soon as possible if you will not be able to log onto the course for a period of time. Do not assume you can just catch up later.

Get to Know Your Classmates

Most online courses have an area for course introductions. In addition to posting yours, read others' introductions. Do you have any of the same research interests or hobbies? Reach out to others in the course to help build a working relationship.


It is easy to get behind in an online course. In face-to-face classes, you may have several weeks without assignments. For example, you could attend several lectures and take notes to study for an exam but not have anything to submit for weeks. In online classes, there are usually weekly assignments. When you participate in class discussions in a face-to-face course, you usually do not write anything. However, online discussions need to be thought out, organized and well-written.

Below are some tips to help keep you from procrastinating:

  • Add up all the time you spend on work, family obligations, shopping, cooking, sleeping, etc. and note the amount of time you have left. Be honest with yourself — do you really have time to take this course?
  • Plan on logging on to the course at least three times a week.
  • Enter the specific days/times you will work on the course on a calendar. You will be more likely to do it if it is scheduled just like a meeting.
  • Try not to schedule time to work on the course too close to the due dates. If at all possible, try to work ahead to account for any possible technical difficulties.
  • Read through assignments clearly and in advance so that you have time to ask your instructor questions. Most instructors try to respond within 48 hours.

Financial Aid

Financial aid may be available for students who qualify.

Experienced Faculty

Experienced faculty are always available and can answer questions and provide feedback throughout the program.


Dedicated Student Support

A CSU enrollment advisor can answer your questions and guide you through the application process. Click the button below to fill out a form and start the conversation.

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