Getting Started?

If you are new to the online learning experience or just need a refresher, the following resources are provided to help you succeed. Preparing yourself prior to the term will aid in a smoother start in your online course.

Before the Term Begins

Self Assessment

Even if you have already registered for an online course it is a good idea to know your strengths and weaknesses and whether eLearning is a good fit for you

Technical Requirements

Make sure your computer and internet are compatible with your online course.

Complete an Orientation

Whether this is your first online class or you just need a refresher we offer both face-to-face and online orientation options that will prepare you for your upcoming class.

Determine your Canvas Username and Password

You can determine your Canvas login information in the "Logging into Canvas" area of the Clark Canvas site.

Activate your Student Email Account

Not only is your Canvas account tied to your student email account it is also where many other important Clark College communications are sent. Make sure you are checking it regularly.

Check your Waitlist Status

If you are on a waitlist for a class you will not have access to it in Canvas until you are fully registered for the course. Waitlists end prior to the start of the term so if you have not been fully registered by that time you will need to contact the instructor regarding permission to register

Get your Textbooks

You can purchase your textbooks online or in person at the Clark College Bookstore.

Pay your Tuition

Make sure you pay your tuition by the deadline to avoid being dropped from the course.

Determine your Backup Plan

Technology, like everything else in life, is not perfect. Things happen–your internet connection goes down, your computer crashes, the power goes out. It is a good idea to have a backup plan in place in case something happens. While many instructors choose to be flexible if something goes wrong, in the end a failure in technology may not be a viable excuse for not getting your work completed. We recommend the following steps to protect yourself:

  • Make sure you are completing your work in a timely manner. The less time you give yourself to do something, the less time you have to troubleshoot anything that may go wrong.
  • Arrange with a friend or family member to be able to use their computer if yours stops working.
  • Be aware of the Clark College Computer Lab hours and locations in case you need to come to campus to finish your work.
  • Always keep copies of your work–from assignments to discussion posts it's a good idea to keep a separate file with a backup of all of your work in case something happens and you need to prove you did the work.


First Day of the Term

The first day of the term is considered your first day of class for the majority of online courses. You will need to log into Canvas on that day and complete any preliminary assignments your instructor may have for you. If you do not it is just like not showing up to the first day of an on-campus class and the instructor may drop you for non-attendance.  NOTE: Some hybrids may not be available until after your first on-campus meeting. If you log into Canvas and do not see the hybrid course you may want to email the instructor for clarification.

As you begin your first day of class please keep the following in mind:

  • If you log into Canvas and don't see your classes be aware that instructors have until noon to make the course available to you. If it is after noon and you still do not see the class do the following:
    • Verify that you are in fact registered for the course.
    • Email your instructor and let them know you are looking for the course.
    • Keep checking Canvas and your email for a response from the instructor.
  • It is a good idea to log into your course earlier in the day. If you wait until late at night there may not be anyone available to assist you if you run into difficulties. 
  • If you are unable to log into Canvas until later or not at all on the first day of the term ALWAYS communicate this with your instructor via email and ask them how they would like you to proceed.
  • Once you have logged into Canvas spend some time in each of your classes:
    • Find your syllabus and read thoroughly.
    • Get familiar with how your instructor has the class designed. Just like a traditional on-campus class, each online class is going to be different depending on the instructor and the content.
    • Find any introductory assignments that your instructor may have for you to complete
  • IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR FINANCIAL AID RECIPIENTS: Students taking an online class or classes and receiving Financial Aid (grants and/or loans) are required to complete an academic activity in each online class the first week of the term. Students who do not complete the activity will jeopardize their funding. Please see the Financial Aid department for further information.

Throughout the Term

As you move through the term in your online course it is a good idea to keep the following in mind for your continued success:

Manage your Time

Depending on how you learn, online classes may take more or less time for you to complete all of your work. A rough guideline is each credit requires 1 hour of "in-class" time and 2 hours of "homework time" per week so a 5 credit class would be 5 hours of "in-class" time and 10 hours of "homework time" = 15 hours/week of work. Get a firm grasp of how much time you realistically need to put into your coursework and don't save everything until the last minute.

Keep Track of Due Dates

Use your syllabus, schedule, or course modules to keep track of what needs to be done when. You don't want to find yourself in the position of having missed an assignment because you didn't notice it was due.


Because your instructor is not seeing you every day they do not know if you are confused or having a problem unless you tell them. If you have questions, ask. If you are confused, seek clarification.

Utilize your Resources

Clark College offers many resources to guide you in your continued success.