Penn State NASA

How to Succeed in Earth 103


The Recipe for Success

mixing bowl

In real estate, you hear the phrase, "Location, Location, Location!"

In music, as in sports, the phrase goes something like "Practice, Practice, Practice!".

And in the world of cooking, everyone knows that "the better the batter, the better the cake!".

In other words, what you put in greatly influences what you get out. And that is what this page is all about:  Quality in - quality out.

How To Succeed in an Online Course

For online courses, the advice most likely to lead you to success is "Engage, Engage, Engage!"

What does this mean? Quite simply, it means being active in the course on a regular basis. It means keeping in sync with what's going on in the course, staying on top of deadlines and assignments, asking for help when necessary, and taking every opportunity to interact with the content and the instructors. It means making EARTH 103 a regular part of your routine. Do this, and frankly, it will be difficult for you NOT to succeed in this course.

In online courses, the role of both the instructors AND the students tends to shift from the traditional classroom roles. The instructors' role is similar to that of good supervisors, and the students' role is closer to that of a good employee. The instructors define and set overall goals, outcomes, and timelines; make the information, resources, and experiences available to you to meet those goals; and, provide the support, guidance, communication channels, and feedback to help you succeed. The students' primary responsibilities are to stay on task; to manage their time and energy in order to get everything done on a weekly basis; to ask for guidance when in need of clarification; and to take every opportunity available to improve their chances of success.

So, the very best advice we can offer you is to be engaged in this course at least nine hours each week, and log on 5-6 days of the week to spread out your study and thinking time. In the final analysis, completing multiple online sessions of quality study time is a tried-and-true recipe for success in EARTH 103.

Six specific steps to help you succeed in this course

  1. Intentionally schedule your time! Treat this course like a traditional face-to-face course and you should be fine.
    • Schedule a time to read the instructional materials and take notes on what you read.
    • Schedule a time to review your notes.
    • Schedule a time to do your assignments.
    • Do not procrastinate.
    • Use a calendar program and set regular reminders for yourself.
  2. Read, Read, Read
    • Read the Lesson overview and objectives.
    • Read and take notes on all lesson materials including external readings, videos, etc.
    • Read all email, discussion forum posts and class announcements.
    • Read all the instructions that accompany all assignments—they are there to help you succeed!
  3. Take Notes!  Again, treat this course just like a traditional face-to-face course.
    • Take notes when you read!
    • Write down what you don't understand and ask about it in the discussion boards.
  4. Communicate with the Instructors.
    • Use the Discussion Forums to ask general questions about the course set-up or content.
    • Email "ALL COURSE FACULTY" for private questions.
    • Be Familiar with all of the Technical Requirements.
      • Just like other courses that have prerequisites, this course requires you to have certain technical specifications and knowledge.  Do NOT bypass the tests on the Technical Requirements page.   Failure to do so may result in poor learning outcomes.  Pay specific attention to the browser you are using—this is critical to your success in EARTH 103!
    • Understand and know how to use Canvas. 
      • Read about how to use Canvas by reviewing Canvas Student Resources. Become familiar with where things are located and when things are due.
      • Use the Canvas help if you have questions (question mark icon on the lower left hand side of the Canvas page).