It takes a lot of discipline to be a good online student. Here are some points that are important for success in your online course. After you read over these points, take the VARK Learning Style Assessment and the “Rate Your Online Learning Potential” quiz in the Activity to help you assess whether you are ready for an online course.
Be Realistic About How Much Time an Online Class Will Take
Expect to spend at least as much time in an online study group as you would taking a campus section of the same study group. Schedule your “class” time weekly, just as if you were physically coming into class. Get your weekly assignments in on time, so you don’t fall behind. Many students hold unrealistic expectations and assume an online course will be easier–the reality is that it is equally as difficult and time consuming as an on-campus course!
Find a Quiet Place to Go Online
Though you may be at home or at your school, you will be attending an online class. You need a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted in order to reflect and do your best thinking. Create a place and time that you can work on your course material to maximize your learning.
Collaborate and Interact
Many people come to an online course expecting to work through the assignments independently, on their own. This is not true of TeachStar courses. The TeachStar online environment is highly interactive and collaboration with fellow classmates is essential. Interacting with others in the discussion board is where you build deeper understanding and meaning of the course content. You are expected to be part of the learning community where you and your peers assume the roles of both learners and instructors to one another.
TeachStar requires a minimum of online participation each week and credit for the class cannot be awarded if you don’t meet these requirements.
|No Pass||Inconsistent participation in discussion topics|
|Minimum Pass||For each discussion topic:
– a thoughtful response to each discussion assignment
– two replies to other participants' responses
– answer ALL questions that others ask you in your original discussion threads
|High Pass||After initial post to each topic, post responses to build on the ideas of other participants and take the discussion deeper into the issues and concepts. Offer perspectives that others may not have considered. Point out areas of the topic that have been omitted or misinterpreted.|
Don’t Fall Behind
It’s so easy to procrastinate when you don’t have to physically arrive in a classroom on time or turn in your work in person. To meet the deadlines for your assignments, you should login Friday night, Saturday or Sunday to read your course assignments and watch the video clips. Post your initial responses to the activities in the discussion board no later than Monday night. The rest of the week is spent in interacting with your classmates to construct understanding of the course content. Your classmates are depending on you to do your part in the learning community!
Help is Available
If you have technology problems or questions about the assignments, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask questions! Take advantage of course resources such as the Class Musings, your online portfolio, your online instructor, and the Help Desk link in the course menu. They are all here to help you succeed.
Are You Ready for an Online Course?
Learning in an online environment is very different than a traditional or on-campus environment. The online course environment is text-based, requiring participants to read assignments, discussion board postings, and email messages, and respond and express their thoughts in writing. Therefore, it is important that participants enjoy and are skillful at reading and writing. You will learn more about your learning potential in this activity. Find out if you are a good candidate for working online.
Activity: Rate Your Learning Potential
Do the following assessment to rate your online learning potential:
- Take the VARK, a short, simple inventory of learning style assessing your four sensory modal preferences (Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic).
Once you have completed your learning style assessment, consider how the online environment might be appropriate for you or difficult. What did you discover are your compatible traits and your greatest challenges? What are some techniques you might use to help you succeed in this text-based environment? Think about how you can overcome your challenges.