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Online Course Preparation

Taking an online course can be challenging. Students should assess themselves and determine if online courses are right for them. Below are questions to help make that decision.

Navigate through each question using the tabs.

  • Is your learning Style conducive to online learning?
    • Online courses are a lot of independent work. Some students require face-to-face interaction from the instructor. Something that is almost/entirely absent in an online course.
  • Do you have what you need to succeed?
    • Taking an online course requires self-discipline and keeping in contact with your peers and instructor frequently. Be sure that you have access to a computer, internet, and harness the skills to use a computer effectively enough to send emails and complete online research.
  • Do you have the time available to commit to online learning?
    • Online courses may look appealing because of their flexibility, however, many students have reported that online courses take more time than a traditional face-to-face course.
  • Do you have the necessary computer skills, hardware, and software for an online course?
    • Remember that a student will need tools to help them complete their assignments for an online course. Their main tool will be their computer. A student computer should have a high speed internet connection and be powerful enough to run programs such as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. They should also be able to do simple tasks such as sending emails and complete online researching tasks.
  • Will you be comfortable taking an online course?
    • Sampson Community College uses Moodle for many courses, especially Online and Hybrid. A student should be confident in their skills to complete tasks in Moodle. This may include taking tests, submitting documents and powerpoints, and presenting to the class.

Students should also take into consideration the amount of work an online course can be.

Contrary to what most students believe, many students in online courses report that online courses require more time and are more challenging than a traditional college course. Many online students also report that they learn more and work harder. In an online course, the responsibility for learning is solely your responsibility – you will need self-discipline and self-directed time management skills to be successful.

Many students report that their first online class is the most difficult. Not only were they expected to learn their course material, but they were also expected to be able to communicate and present their material in the online learning environment as well.

While the first online course was difficult, students mentioned that following online courses were easier because they developed better time management skills and paced themselves accordingly.

In a traditional course students attend lectures and can answer questions to prove an understanding of the material. In an online course students may not have this opportunity. Instructors may replace lectures and in class assignments with online alternatives. These alternatives may be reports, online/textbook research, section based quizzes, discussion forums, etc..

Students will need to know how to access and complete these assignments using a computer.

In an online course immediate feedback may not be available like it is in a traditional learning environment. Students that take online courses may run into barriers with certain assignments. Online students should try to request information about an assignment as soon as possible should they ever become confused or need clarity. This gives the instructor time to respond to the students request.

Sometimes students may not get a response before an assignment is due. In this case a student taking an online course should be able to move forward, without direction, to the best of their abilities. If you have trouble in doing so online learning may pose a challenge.

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