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Helping eLearners Succeed

The best ways to offer content, resource, and study strategy support to online learners

Frank ChristFrank Christ is professor emeritus at California State University-Long Beach, where he founded an award winning learning assistance support system. He also is the co-developer and content editor of Learning Support Centers in Higher Education (LSCHE, a free web portal for learning support center resources. And he is the author of several publications on learning skills, including 100 Things Every Online Student Ought to Know (Cambridge Stratford Publishing, 2007). Christ has delivered online graduate courses on teaching and facilitating college-level learning skills, and at professional conferences he has presented many faculty workshops about support for online students. Here, he identifies the Top 10 things you can do to help your online students

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Find and link students to academic support services they might not be aware of on your own campus.

  • Help students discover the wealth of academic support your campus may offer: tutoring, internet help, test preparation, writing workshops, and more.
  • Remember, instructors are the main connection between students and the academic assistance they need to succeed in their courses.

Provide selected links to the many excellent resources on the web.

  • At, 120 study guides are available for various learning areas.
  • Check out, a good community college resource with many content study strategy guides.
  • Conduct a Google search; it’s easy to find more!

Recommend or require ancillary texts for student support.

  • A few study skills texts have been published that address online learning; do a Google search for “online student skills,” to select among online and print resources.

Invite campus learning assistance specialists to spend some time in your course.

  • Create discussion forums for virtual experts such as learning skills specialists, content tutors, librarians, or writing specialists.

Offer performance tips to students as ‘just-in-time’ interventions.

  • You can send a performance tip to alert one or all of your students to specific content or skills problems.

Leverage advice from former students, as introductory information to your course.

  • At the end of each course, ask your students what they think new students in your course should know.
  • Develop a list of past student advice that you can pass on to new students.

Create a ‘Learner Support’ button in your course management system (CMS).

  • A button labeled “Learner Support” or “Help With Online Learning” will help students easily access the support they need.

Place all student support information in your course syllabus.

  • Mention the learning support button in your CMS and describe its contents and any special links that you have added.

Keep up with the latest materials for online learners.

  • Be a frequent visitor to sites like LSCHE, a free web portal containing materials for support of online students.

Support the support!

  • Find, use, and share with colleagues the justification for integrating learner support in all online courses.
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