Success as an Online CU Nursing Student


We at the College of Nursing are committed to helping students be successful during their time at the college. Below are some tips on how to be successful at learning online. 

What it means to be “online”

This course is fully online. There are no on-campus meetings (although you may meet virtually with your team or instructor). If this is your first online course, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • It truly can take a little while to get used to “doing school” online! Be patient with yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your instructor is here to help you. There is also 24/7 Canvas support for technical issues should they arise.
  • Online learning requires self-discipline. You must be fairly self-directed! This is good, but can also be frustrating if it is new to you. Try your best not to fall behind, and stick with it.
  • Follow the assignment directions. If you don't understand what is being asked, get in touch with your instructor.

Tips for Success Online


If you find yourself falling behind or struggling to focus in your online class, try these tricks!

  • Find a Dedicated Time: It may help to think of your online course in the same way you view a typical face-to-face course. Block out days and times each week to work on this course. Block off the time in your calendar, and add assignments and reminders to your calendar as well.
  • Choose a Dedicated Space: During your selected time for work, find an environment that works best for you to be productive (office, library, quiet coffee shop, etc.)
  • Limit Distractions: When working on course material, put away your phone and "turn off" social media. Turn off the TV. Work alone in your chosen space, or use headphones to deter conversations.
  • Communication is key! Open and active communication with your instructor is key! Don't be afraid to reach out for clarification on confusing content or assignments.
  • Be an Active Team Member: Online team work can be both rewarding and challenging. Maintain open and active communication with team members, and remember that they, too, have busy schedules. Try to stay flexible, yet organized.

How Do Online Classes Work?


Online classes are taught by the same outstanding faculty members who teach at the brick and mortar campuses. An online student is no different from a student taking classes on campus. Your diploma and transcripts look the same whether you take your program in an online, hybrid, web-enhanced, or face-to-face format. You also apply to college the same way. 

There are various ways to take classes other than in-person. These are referred to as modalities or modes of instruction. Some common definitions are below.  

  • Online: A course that uses web-based tools and where 100 percent of the instruction and interaction between instructor and student is done online. (Proctored exams still allow for this classification.)
  • Hybrid: A course that replaces some, but not all face-to-face time with web-based tools.
  • Web-Enhanced: A face-to-face course that does not replace any face-to-face seat time, and access to web-based tools is required.
Most classes allow you to work on a reasonably flexible schedule, but some classes require that you login at certain times. Online does not mean self-paced.

Helpful Learning Apps


Learning online provides a bit of flexibility in how you engage with the course.  The apps listed below are helpful if you use a tablet or other mobile device as your primary computer.

Free apps from either Google Play or the Apple App Store

  • Canvas Student
  • ZOOM Cloud Meetings
  • Microsoft Outlook: Organize Your Email & Calendar
  • OneDrive

HIPAA Considerations


It’s important to not use identifiable patient data as part of an assignment or student submission so that Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) compliance is maintained. A key thing to keep is in is that Canvas is not HIPAA compliant. Thus protected health information (PHI) cannot be stored there.

There are steps, you can take to make sure protected health information (PHI) is not used in assignments.

If you are not certain about proper use and/or storage of Protected Health Information (PHI), contact your instructor.

Canvas Resources


The learning management system (LMS) used at the College of Nursing is called Canvas. Below are a few videos to help you get started on the right foot.