Readiness Guide

If you are considering becoming an online student, review this guide to see if online learning is right for you. It is best to review it before applying to the University of New Mexico. You may be surprised about what it takes to succeed.

Successful online learners are comfortable:

    1. Setting goals
    2. Communicating
    3. Following instructions
    4. Committing to a study routine
    5. Navigating the university
    6. Navigating unfamiliar technologies
    7. Seeking resources and support

The sections below feature explanations of each item from the readiness list.

1. Setting Goals

Pursuing an online education at UNM demands time, focus, resources, and support.

Because balancing educational goals with your other commitments is essential, it is recommended that you let others — family members, employer, and co-workers—know how you intend to meet your educational goals while considering other commitments.

Be clear about when and where support from them is needed. Build a schedule that clearly identifies your commitments — both related and unrelated — to school and then share it as appropriate.

Finally, be patient with yourself and others as you adjust.

2. Communicating

As an online learner, you’ll engage with instructors, classmates, academic advisors, and university support staff through various modes including phone, text, email, web conferencing, discussion boards, and collaborative applications. Occasional campus visits may be possible for local online learners.

To aid in communicating, you’ll need reliable access to a computer with an up-to-date browser, and stable high-speed internet. A printer, microphone headset, and web camera are also very helpful.

You’ll use this technology to participate in class, work independently and in groups, and form study partnerships.

Using a cloud storage solution such as OneDrive, routinely back up coursework. If your original work files get lost or destroyed, you’ll be glad you did.

Finally, make a plan for alternate options, should routine access to technologies change.

3. Following Instructions

A large part of online learning involves following instructions both within and outside the course experience. To be a successful student, you’ll ask questions, clarify expectations, and fulfill commitments on time. You’ll thoroughly read course syllabi and note the instructor’s contact information. Find a classmate that you can share class information with if you have questions after hours.

4. Committing to a Studying Routine

Being aware that online courses are rigorous, you’ll want to choose a dedicated study space with few distractions.

A major key to your success lies in maintaining a calendar to track assignments and deadlines. Make sure you carve out time to study and complete assignments as well as take part in your class.

To get the most from your courses, you’ll take part in your classes by logging in at least 2-3 times a week.

Minimum study time is set by the number of weeks a course is taught. A 16-week (or full semester) course requires at least two hours of study per credit hour, per week. For an 8-week course, you should expect the minimum study time to be four hours per credit hour, per week.

5. Navigating the University

Contact UNM Online with questions about online education. The staff specializes in finding answers for current and prospective students. Most inquiries can be handled by email,, but phone calls are welcome too. Call us at 505-277-9000, or toll-free: 1-866-869-6040. Business hours are Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Mountain Time.

Popular web pages at UNM Online to help you find your way around are:

  • Online Programs: Degree programs available fully and partially online.
  • Accelerated Online Programs are offered at a base tuition rate plus a student technology fee. Additional costs may apply, depending on the program. Courses are in an 8-week instructional format. Enrollment is restricted to students accepted to an Accelerated Online Program.
  • Schedule of Online Courses: Main (Albuquerque) Campus courses available online are listed by academic department. Click on each course’s CRN (course record number) for an expanded description.
  • Proctoring Resources: Virtual and in-person options for supervised test-taking.
  • Legal Disclosures: Information for prospective online learners not currently residing in New Mexico. Also, for those interested in pursuing an online degree leading to professional licensure.
  • University of New Mexico links useful for the prospective online learner:
  • Admissions to UNM: The application process depends on your academic goals, and whether you earned higher education credits recognized by UNM.
  • Advising: Each degree program is offered by an academic department within a college or professional school. Each college and school has an advising center, sometimes called a success center.
    • Find your major then connect with an academic advisor.
    • Each program's academic advisor can clarify degree requirements and provide degree audits and transcript reviews.

6. Navigating Unfamiliar Technologies

You do not have to be a technology pro to succeed in online learning. Instead, being open-minded is key. Because UNM regularly updates existing applications and tools along with adopting new ones, it is extremely likely that, no matter how savvy, you’ll interact with unfamiliar technologies.

To succeed, you should get to know learning management systems (LMS). Beginning with the Summer 2022 semester, The University of New Mexico began using the Canvas LMS. For support — including How to Use Canvas information — please visit the Canvas Support page.

You should also be familiar with free software options available to UNM students, particularly collaborative technologies. The University of New Mexico also supports several applications within Office 365.


7. Seeking Resources and Support

Internet searches are a great way to explore new technologies and academic concepts. Once admitted, Main Campus students have access to university resources and support, such as:

Technology Support and Resources

Research Resources

Health and Counseling 

Virtual Advisement Hours:

The UNM Online Student Support team are also available to answer your questions virtually during Advisement Hours every Tuesday & Thursday from 10 a.m.-noon via Zoom using the following ID: 967 7118 3893

*May include services that are only accessible when visiting the Albuquerque campus