Understand the Expectations
Online courses, just like face-to-face courses, require that you are fully aware of the instructor’s expectations and requirements. When you read through each Learning Module, make sure you pay attention to the following things that every learning unit will contain:
- Learning Objectives: What you are expected to accomplish upon completing the unit.
- Learning Activities: What you are expected to do to achieve the learning objectives.
- Assessments: Evaluates how well you have met the learning objectives.
Manage Your Time
It is recommended that you look briefly through the learning content in a Learning Unit before you start working on it. Don’t spend too much time reading the content; just get a sense of what topics are covered, how much reading is required, and what kind of activities or tests are included. It is unlikely that you will be able to complete a full Learning Unit in just one night, so you will probably need to break up the learning materials, activities and assignments into manageable chunks. Plan for how much you can do at a time, and allocate times for completing the tasks. Make specific, realistic and time limited plans, and stick to your plan until you are done.
Get Fully Involved
You won’t be able to see your instructors and classmates face-to-face. Active participation is the key to success in online learning. It is important to work and interact with the learning materials independently, as well as interact with your classmates by participating in activities collaboratively. Visit the course every day to receive the latest news and information. Also, check your email frequently. Instructors usually send important course information and updates by email.
Be Prepared for the Assignments and Assessments
Assignments in online courses may take a variety of forms. Most assignments will have to be submitted online. For example, you might be asked to upload your term paper on the course site or send it directly to the instructor as an email attachment. You may also be asked to create presentations in the form of a webpage. For each assignment, read the instructions carefully to understand specific requirements.
You may wonder how learning will be assessed in an online course. The assessment strategies are similar to face-to-face courses, including quizzes, exams, papers and projects. You will be asked to use different online applications to accomplish this: quizzes can be taken online and scored automatically, and research papers can be submitted directly through the Canvas system. Some instructors, however, prefer paper-based exams in the presence of an approved proctor, even though the course is delivered completely online.