As you prepare to step into the online learning environment, it's important to know what's expected of you to ensure that you make the most of your learning experience. Read about some of the following skills, abilities and tips that are critical for success in a DE course.
In order to be successful in a DE course, it's important to have a high-speed Internet connection along with the proper computer system and software. We recommend that you review our computer system and software requirements to verify that you have met the minimum specifications. If you do not have these technical requirements, you may want to consider upgrading your personal computer or using another computer--on campus or at your local library. As well, follow this quick system check to determine if your computer is set up correctly to participate.
The freedom and flexibility offered by DE courses puts you in control of your learning; however, it requires a greater degree of responsibility and self-motivation to keep up with the flow of the learning process.
DE courses require the same amount of work as your typical face-to-face course. Remember, when you take a face-to-face course on campus, you usually spend three hours a week in class and an additional six to nine hours a week on coursework. In a DE course, you will need to spend all of these hours online--reading, completing activities and assignments, participating in discussions and interacting with your peers and instructor.
Online learning does not mean studying alone. Our DE courses often use discussions to provide you with ample opportunities to interact with your peers and connect with the instructor. In online discussions, you can share insight with your peers and learn from each other. One of the most important things in online learning is to establish trust among the course participants, many of whom you might not meet face-to-face.
In DE courses, nearly all communication is written and expressed in discussions, emails and written assignments. You may be asked to defend your viewpoint or to challenge another's ideas as part of your online discussions. It's important to feel comfortable enough to share your thoughts and opinions with your peers in an open, friendly and respectful manner. The benefit of online discussions is that you are given time to reflect on the information before posting your message or responding to others.
Your DE instructors want you to succeed in the course; however, they cannot see you, so you need to speak up when you need help. Don't be shy about asking questions or asking for help from your instructor, TA or your peers. CourseLink Technical Support is also available to assist you with any technical issues.
While you do not need to be a computer expert, having basic skills will make your online experience easier. It's important to have an understanding of basic computer usage (e.g., creating folders, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, using a word processing program and web browser, searching the Internet, etc.).
We don't expect you to know how to do everything before you start your first DE course. You'll have the opportunity to learn and practice these skills as you participate. The expectation is that you are willing to learn. Remember, these are only guidelines to help you think about the skills and strategies you may find helpful to succeed in your online course. Each student has different learning styles and preferences. Apply those that fit your learning situation.