If you are new to online learning or just need a refresher, be aware that the requirements of online learning are just as challenging as that of any other quality courses. Some common concerns for students who are new to eLearning are their level of motivation, self-discipline, and their ability to manage their time. Some students do not realize the amount of reading that is required in many online courses, while others have misconception that online courses will take less of their time than traditional on-ground classes.
Focus on success
- First day of the quarter - It’s considered your first day of class for the majority of online courses. You will need to log into Canvas prior or on the first day of the quarter; and complete any preliminary assignments your instructor may have for you. If you don't it is just like not showing up to the first day of an on-campus class.
- Have reliable access to a computer and Internet connection - The online classroom is accessed through the Canvas website. You must have access to a computer with an Internet connection to complete course work. Canvas was optimized for desktop displays and not all its features may be compatible with mobile devices. Therefore, using small screens of mobile devices (i.e smartphones) may not be a pleasant experience especially for taking tests or quizzes. Users of iPads or Android tablets may consider mobile browsers such as Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla.
- Be self-motivated and self-disciplined - Successful distance students are self-starters. They don’t require classroom interaction to be motivated. They understand that the freedom and flexibility of the online environment comes with the responsibility of commitment and also the discipline to keep up with the flow of course assignments.
- Resist constant distractions - Distance students know how to filter out the constant diversions that threaten their progress (whether it’s phone ringing off the hook, the kids screaming in the kitchen, or the allure of the TV, etc.). They feel comfortable turning down an invitation or letting the machine pick up the phone when they know there is work to be done.
- Do not procrastinate - Distance students appreciate the ability to complete their course work in as much time as it takes them, but they must take into consideration assignment due dates. Keep track of what needs to be done when. You don't want to find yourself in the situation of having missed an assignment because you didn't notice it was due. Effective distance learners make it a habit to begin working on each new course as soon as course materials are received. Remember that online learning is not easier than the traditional face-to-face courses. In fact, many students say it requires more time and commitment.
- Use available resources - You should make maximum use of the library, class materials, and learning support services (ex. tutoring). When confronted with a problem, you should assume responsibility for defining your needs, identifying available resources, and reach out for help before it's too late.
- Communicate through writing - In the online classroom, nearly all communication is written, so it is critical that you feel comfortable expressing yourself in writing and be comfortable learning without face-to-face interaction.
- Speak up if problems arise - The instructor cannot see the student, so distance students must be willing to communicate. Otherwise the instructor will never know what is wrong.
- Think through ideas before responding - Meaningful, quality input in a virtual classroom setting is an essential part of the learning process. Time is given in the process to allow for the careful consideration of responses. The testing and challenging of ideas is encouraged; you will not always be right, just be prepared to accept a challenge.
- Value high quality learning outside the traditional classroom - If you feel that a traditional classroom is a prerequisite to learning, you may be more comfortable in a traditional classroom setting. An online learner should expect to:
- Participate in the virtual classroom almost every day
- Respond to classmates' ideas and questions
- Use technology properly
- Complete assignments on time
- Enjoy communication in writing