In many ways, online learning is similar to learning in the classroom. Your instructor will provide quality readings, exercises, assignments and quizzes; as with regular classes, what you get out of it is related to how much you put into it. Expect to spend the same amount of time and energy on an online class; in fact, online classes can take more time and energy than regular classes.
However, it is also different in several distinct ways.
Work and study habits
Online classes are convenient and flexible but students have to be disciplined enough to make time to study and participate. Successful online students:
• Log in regularly to their classes (as determined by ULM’s Attendance Policy)
• Plan to ensure enough time to study and complete assignments before due dates and times
• Are organized
• Participate in online classes 5-7 days per week
• Become comfortable with the online learning environment and the technology
• Are able to work with others via email and chat to complete projects
• "Speak up" to their instructors when problems arise
Online interactions are often an essential element of the learning experience. Be willing to share your ideas, carefully consider your responses to others, and be prepared to have your ideas challenged occasionally.
Online learning requires self-discipline and motivation. Take responsibility for learning.
Necessary skill sets
The instructor often cannot see their students, so be willing to talk to her/him about any problems. Here are some pointers to help you in the online learning environment:
• Know how to use technology properly. This tutorial provides help with basic computer skills and information about Moodle, the online course management system used to present online courses at ULM.
• Know how to read and write well.
• Become comfortable addressing problems at a distance. Online education students need to be assertive in order to make their needs known.
• Have good time management skills to plot and follow a schedule for finishing readings and assignments before any due date(s).
• Have solid research skills, including how to effectively use the Internet.
• Have the ability to work well cooperatively, even when your communication is restricted to email or online chat.
Two important qualities of a successful distance learner are flexibility and adaptability. Learning online is an adventure that will expose you to some entirely new experiences. The ability to be flexible and remain open-minded is critical to having a positive experience as you move through uncharted territory.