The following tips should make your online experience smoother.
Schedule time to log on to the course site and study--REGULARLY! To promote success, reduce procrastination, and eliminate frustration, schedule regular study time for the course, when you are most efficient and when it is most convenient. You MUST log on several times a week!
Take advantage of "any time, anywhere" learning! You do not have to respond to discussion forum questions on the spot. Reflect on the questions and type your responses in your word processor. This allows you to articulate your responses before posting them, without worrying about being "dropped" by your internet service provider. Also, unlike in traditional classes where you have to listen to everyone's comments, in an online course, you may choose to read and react only to those comments that intrigue you and are relevant to your learning.
Be extra cautious, kind, and sensitive! The online environment offers a level playing field. Factors such as appearance, age, disabilities, race, etc. are not visible. However, because of the lack of body language, students and teachers may offend each other, often without intending to do so. Be polite and sensitive when replying to posted comments. Don't "say" anything online that you would not tell to someone's face.
Don't stay lost and confused! When students get overwhelmed, they drop. Often the mode of learning is blamed, when in fact they didn't ask for help when they were lost or confused. If you are unclear about something, it is very likely that others in the course have the same question. Send an email message or call your instructor, or post a message in the discussion forum. Your instructors are very interested in your success!
Go beyond the call of duty! Take advantage of the links to supplementary materials that your instructor has gathered for you. They will give you a more in-depth analysis of the course content.
Stay in touch! Stay "connected" with the course, your instructor, and your classmates. Don't allow yourself to fall behind. Stay involved.
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This orientation was originally developed by Vivie Sinou as part of a grant from the Chancellor's Office, CA, 1999-00, and was adapted for Foothill College. The webpages were designed with ideas from Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction, Illinois Online Network, and input from members of the California Community College Distance Learning Consortium.