If you’re pursuing an online program at The University of Texas Permian Basin, you know that studying online has its perks and conveniences, including the ability to complete coursework at any time from the comfort of your own home. However, an online format can also pose unique challenges. Some students may feel isolated, which can impact their motivation to engage in courses. For other students, faulty or out-of-date technology may pose an issue. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways that online students can overcome these challenges, manage their time and resources successfully, and find their place in the UTPB Falcon Family. 

Stay Up to Date with Technology 

Online education can trace its origins to the mid-1800s, when the U.S. Postal Service developed “correspondence colleges”: a new educational format in which professors sent materials by mail to students who couldn’t be on campus. Over a century later, in 1982, the first online courses were offered by Western Behavioral Sciences Institute in La Jolla, California. Since then, virtual education has become mainstream. About one in four college students are currently enrolled online across the United States, a number that has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, and technology has been keeping up with the changing times. 

If you’re a prospective or current online student wondering what kind of technology you’ll use in your online classes, you’ll find it helpful to become acquainted with Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, and your school’s apps and online platforms. Set up your computer’s camera and microphone ahead of time and check your connections. If you have spotty access to the internet, don’t be afraid to inform your advisor or professors. Some teachers will even record class sessions for students to watch later.  

Connect with Students and Faculty 

If you’ve ever felt tired or down when faced with long days studying at the computer, know you’re not alone. “Zoom Fatigue” isn’t just a pandemic-spurred catchphrase —it’s a real psychological phenomenon. Communication and peer interaction are just as important as your academic efforts when earning your degree. These social elements are sometimes missing when you study online, and virtual education may worsen existing mental health issues. Therefore, it is important to attend every class, introduce yourself, connect with peers, and participate in group discussions online.  

Ask Questions 

Since you don’t have your professor and fellow classmates in the room with you, it’s important to ask questions if you have trouble understanding something. Participating online will help you relate and engage with your peers. It will also help you meet minimum participation requirements.  

Attend Virtual Events and Join Groups 

Join online clubs, forums, and groups (or create them if they don’t yet exist online for your school). Students can also seek out a virtual advisor or tutor, or attend online events. It’s also important that online students know that they’re not always limited to virtual coursework. Some programs may offer in-person field trips, internships, or practicums that allow them to connect with other professionals, especially if you live close to the university.  

Pursue Your Online Education at UT Permian Basin 

UT Permian Basin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top public schools, best regional universities, and a top performer on social mobility. At UT Permian Basin, we’ve made it easy to earn an online degree, and we’re committed to providing accessible, affordable education for our students. 

Stay Connected 

UT Permian Basin offers over 40 online programs with six annual start dates, so you choose the program of study that interests you most and pursue it at the time that suits your life best. Meet with an academic advisor or schedule time online with student support as a prospective or current student to sort out any questions, comments, or issues you may have.  

You can find more information on an immersive online management system called Falcon Online, which offers all the resources that online students need. Online students attend orientation virtually and attend classes using Canvas. Any UTPB student can use the university’s online library, which offers extensive online databases and chat options. Eligible online students will automatically be considered for  UT Permian Basin’s new Falcon Free program, which covers tuition and mandatory fees. Online students may also apply for other scholarships

Ready to pursue the career of your dreams and become a member of the Falcon Family? Apply to one of UT Permian Basin’s online programs today!