There are a number of studies that have analyzed the characteristics of successful online learners. In all cases, the single most critical criteria for success is that the student be able to work independently. Working independently does not mean working alone. There will be plenty of support from the course instructor and from other students. But, it does mean that you must be disciplined enough to sit down at your computer and work through the readings, assignments, email from the instructor and other students, and participate in work groups and other activities.

The greatest difference between the traditional classroom and online learning is that on-campus classes meet at a prescribed time and place, while in the online class students have more flexibility with regard to when and where they participate in class.