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.
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:
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