Online Learning Can Prepare Students For Fast-Changing

Online Learning Can Prepare Students For Fast-Changing

Prepare Students for Online Learning

Create an online learning environment that is safe and adequately reflects student’s expectations. Students who are new or suspicious of online learning need preparation and the right mindset to succeed. This is why setting the right tone, constant virtual presence, and easy-to-find course expectations, clearly outlining course structure and schedule, activities format, and grading is so important.

A few helpful lists are listed below. Teachers can post or send out one of them in advance to students in order to prepare them and set the foundation for mutual progress in the learning process.   

Tips for Taking Online Courses

Taking courses online can be a little like taking courses in a foreign country. Most of us are still learning the norms and expectations of the online environment. Even though the technology is wonderful and exciting, we would never say that this environment is the right learning environment for every student. It works well for some students most of the time. It provides exciting opportunities for people who are constrained by time, place or other factors.

Online courses can work for any student, just as a physical, onsite classroom with face-to-face instruction can work for any student – but we all know the quality of the “fit” with a particular instructor or a particular class environment varies. Taking an online class requires just as much time and effort as class on campus – and there are some new twists for most of us.

To see if online classes are right for you, answer these questions:

  • Do you like to work independently?
  • Are you persistent?
  • Do you need convenience and an adjustable schedule?
  • Are you comfortable asking for clarification and continuing to ask when you need more information?
  • Are you comfortable working at a computer?
  • Are you comfortable working primarily with a text-based medium?
  • Would you be comfortable phoning or faxing your instructor if you had problems with anything in the course? 

If you answered “yes” to most of those questions, then you should do well in the online learning environment. If you hesitated, be certain to keep a very close touch with your progress.

Reading is key

Remember that you won’t have all those non-verbal cues that you get in the physical classroom and neither will your instructor. Also, your instructor’s role will be much less that of the distributor of information, and much more that of a guide or resource for you in exploring an area of knowledge. Almost all your information will come in the form of words. Words on the screen help the instructor “see” you much more clearly. The teaching style used in online courses may be different from the traditional college model. Taking a class online means you won’t be sitting quietly in the classroom; participation is even more essential.

Communication is key

As always, effective communication is critical to success. It’s even more important in the online environment because your instructor can’t see your frown, or hear the question in your voice. Here, you’ll be responsible for initiating more contact, for being persistent and vocal when you don’t understand something. Your instructor wants to help – please write your question and send it along, express your confusion, your concern, and be direct! You will save a lot of time, and both you and your instructor will know better what you intend. Be sure and ask about anything and everything that has to do with course content, course procedure and evaluation.

Do’s and Dont’s

  • Take time to review all the help files available.
  • Don’t read material just once. Multiple reading, line-by-line reading are among the keys to understanding mathematics.
  • Spend some time just navigating your way through the class and making sure you can figure out what the buttons are for.
  • Don’t expect too much, to soon. Study and then re-study.
  • Manage your time. You will find that your time management skills will be critical in an online class. Why? Because it’s very easy to spend either far too little time, or far too much time on the class. Set designated blocks of time to work on the class. This will help you stay up with the assignments and with the interaction required in most online classes.
  • Download or print out pages for reference and review away from the computer.
  • Set priorities and pay close attention to what your instructor says about priorities.
  • Try hard to solve problems independently before you ask for help.
  • Don’t give up. If you haven’t had a mathematics course lately, the first part of the course may be daunting. This will ease.

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