In many ways, taking an online course is like taking a face-to-face course. Both feature individual assignments and cooperative group projects, and both require you to take examinatons to show you are learning the course material. The instructor directs you through the activities, posting announcements, delivering lecture materials, responding to questions, and grading assignments and exams. The great benefit of being in an online course is that you can have direct, one-to-one communication with your instructor and fellow students at any time, rather than only during class or office hours. For successful online learning, it is recommended that you log on at least once a day to check for announcements and review online materials. How long you need to be online depends on the activities for that session.
Look at the course calendar to see when assignments are due and when projects begin and end. Your course may have a very explicit schedule that tells you when you need to be online for different assignments. For example, you may have a class discussion for which you will need to submit an initial comment on a Monday and then respond to another student's comment on Tuesday. Requirements of this kind will be spelled out in the respective assignment or discussion.
Unlike the situation in most face-to-face courses, where you can show up for class, listen to lectures, and perhaps not play an active role in the discussion, the assignments in online courses require your participation. If you do not keep up with reading and other homework, you will not be able to contribute meaningful, timely comments to the online discussions.
Flexibility is built into online courses. You can log on when it is convenient for you, but there are some things to consider:
Although online courses are asynchronous (students are
You are responsible for acquiring the assigned reading materials.
You will need to contribute to discussions and reply to other students' comments.
You will need to submit individual assignments on time.