Continued from page 1
Self-Study: A Self-Study course is one where there is no instructor involvement at all. The instructor is more of an “author” who creates material, but student accesses it and interacts with it on their own. Classic examples of Self-Study material are language and motivational tapes or CDs. Sometimes there may be workbooks and other documentation included that student can utilize as they learn.
There is another presentation format to be aware of: Start time. Some of above formats require pre-set “start times” (the Live and Synchronous courses in particular), or they can start whenever any particular student signs up (the Asynchronous and Self-Study in particular).
An inventive Instructor may configure his or her course to incorporate elements of all of these formats into delivery process.
Read Instrument Panel
Pay attention to what technologies class incorporates to facilitate student interactivity: chat rooms, discussion boards, video-conferencing, and other multimedia that build classroom community. (Caution: more interactivity and multimedia a course offers, greater minimum technical requirements become.)
Chat rooms and bulletin boards allow students to post live or static messages, respectively, for expanded discussion offline. Features that offer a greater means for communication between students (and instructor) are key to successful learning. The semi-anonymity allows you to speak your mind without intimidation, making conversations lively and enriching. Private one-on-one email exchange encourages useful feedback. Chat rooms also offer students with visual barriers or who are easily distracted in traditional classrooms a place to thrive because they accommodate greater concentration.
(Remember—bulletin boards and discussion boards aid instructors in assessing a student’s overall participation and/or enrollment, so be sure to document your contributions frequently.)
Update Your Tools
Whether on a PC or a Mac, you’ll need an Internet connection—preferably using a high-speed Internet Service Provider (ISP)—and at least 64 megabytes of RAM (memory), preferably more – RAM is cheap and makes a huge difference in performance of your system. Because most home systems are older (and slower) than office systems, most many online courses are designed with this in mind. Contact site’s administrator before enrolling if you have specific questions pertaining to your system.
Summary: Review Checklist
Review following statements and check off ones that apply to you. The more affirmative responses you provide, better your chance of learning effectively in online environment. (The list is not exhaustive—but rather a general overview of key characteristics successful online learners posses).
Enjoy working independently Accept direct instructor feedback Access to computer and Internet Can meet deadlines Appreciate exchanging of ideas Understand common computer terms, such as “URL” and “hyperlink” Possess basic typing skills Comfortable asking questions and having one-on-one dialogues with instructor Curious to explore new things Enjoy learning in a diverse “classroom” setting General computer skills Responsible study habits (setting own schedule) Ten–fifteen hours per week (on average) available for study Understanding online coursework is not inherently easier than traditional coursework Effective writing skills Desire to read material online
Online Learning is a Two-Way Street Ensuring online learning success means showing up—not literally, of course—but rather being present for self-growth. Education is an investment in oneself. Expect back only what you put in, and don’t treat it as a spectator sport.
Remember—successful online learning is measured by your participation. Accomplishing your goals means taking responsibility for your work, as well as interacting with peers for feedback and support. In short, it’s an exchange of ideas and information.
Don’t Give Up Before Finish Line Each course is a unique experience. What you put into a course is what you’ll get out of it. Online learning approaches are vast… choose carefully, then dive into it with vigor.
“90 % of success is showing up” - Woody Allen
Jim Norrena is a writer for http://www.searchforclasses.com Check there for information, tips and articles about online education. Read our Education News blog at http://sfcednews.blogspot.com/