Online Education – Tips for the Learner

Deciding to pursue further educational opportunities is a big enough decision in itself. Deciding to pursue that goal online creates new and different challenges somewhat different from those in a face-to-face setting. You’ll have questions such as:o What will it be like not having the opportunity to meet my instructor?o What kinds of assignments will I have?o How will I access the assignments?o How will I turn in the assignments?o When will I do my work?o Do I need a textbook? If so, how will I get it?o Will I have the opportunity to interact with my classmates?With those questions in mind, and having received my masters degree online as well as being an online course developer and instructor, I thought it would be helpful to offer some answers to your questions and tips for having a successful online learning experience.o First things first – once you receive your username and password, log into our class and explore the site thoroughly. Click on all buttons to see what things are and what resources your instructor has made available to you. You should have access to information regarding accessing and submitting assignments. If not, this would be a good question for your instructoro Look through the assignments to get an overview of the expectations for the course.o If a textbook is needed, make sure you obtain it right away.o Where appropriate, print out information that you’ll need to access regularly.o Send an email to your instructor introducing yourself and asking any questions you have. Do this whether you have questions or not! Developing an early relationship with your instructor is very important. It lets him/her know a little about you and personalizes your online experience.o If there is a Discussion Board, post a comment or question for your classmates. This will initiate communication which will be valuable as your progress through the course. If someone else has already posted, respond to that post to continue the conversation.o It is so easy to let things “slide” when you don’t have a classroom to report to or have the “evil eye” of an instructor should you fall behind, It is IMPERATIVE that you establish a routine immediately so you do not fall behind. Catching up can present challenges that are difficult to overcome.o Throughout the course, continue entering posts in the Discussion Board. Get to know your classmates.o Send a weekly email to your instructor, even if its intent is purely conversational.o Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride! Online learning is an exciting experience! Make the most of it!!