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Initiative and assertiveness are qualities needed for success in distance learning. Students need to take the initiative to ask questions and resolve problems that the instructor may not be able to perceive. Many of the non-verbal cues that instructors use to determine whether a student is not understanding are not as available in an online class as they are in face-to-face learning environments. If you experience difficulty on any level, either with the technology or with the course content, you need to communicate your concerns immediately, otherwise the instructor will not know how to help.
Also, students in distance learning courses need to be assertive in order to make themselves known to the instructor and to other students.