Drive for Self-Improvement

Instructors provide feedback to students in online courses through a variety of methods. Feedback is given on assignments, through discussion, course mail, and through grading. The successful online student is able to take this feedback and use it to adjust their habits to improve performance for remaining activities in the semester.

Below you will find some tips on driving for self-improvement:

Assignment Grades and Instructor Comments

The grade received on an assignment (whether it be numeric or a letter grade) is a quick indicator of current performance. Be sure, however, to know the instructor’s overall grading policy and how the various assignments in the course are weighted. For example, you may do very well on a chapter quiz, but receive a low grade on a discussion. If the discussion is weighted more heavily in the overall course average, it could have a bigger effect on your grade.

In addition to grades, most instructors also provide detailed feedback to students. This feedback can be given in a variety of ways including comments included with the grade, an attached file containing the graded assignment with feedback included, a grading rubric, a course email message or a course announcement. Be sure to know how your instructor plans to give you feedback and always check that area in addition to seeing your grade. If you have a question as to why you received a grade on a particular assignment, just ask. You can then use the feedback you receive to improve. You may have to return to the schedule that you created and make adjustments.

Feedback From Classmates

The instructor is not the only source of feedback in an online course. The online discussion areas within the course provide a great opportunity both for you to offer feedback to your peers and to receive feedback from them. Be sure to read all postings in a discussion and, while you may not agree with every posting that has been made, try to learn and improve from the observations and views of others.


The grades that you receive and the feedback from others are not the only evaluations that should be taken into consideration when planning your improvement. Periodically it is very important to evaluate your own performance in your course and determine if the plan that you set in motion is working for you. Has anything changed that should necessitate a change in your schedule? Are you finding that you have enough time to complete your assignments based on the schedule or do you feel rushed or stressed? Are your reading skills where they need to be or should there be changes in strategy? Are you forming positive relationships with your fellow classmates and your instructor? Do you have enough opportunity for the requirements in your life outside of the course? All of these things need to be looked at and addressed for your continued and improved success in your online course.