Introduction to Online Learning


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Introduction to Online Learning

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Introduction to Online Learning

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION TO ONLINE LEARNING @ GU This course introduces first-time online learners to the characteristics, requirements, tools, and practices of distance learning. You'll learn how to use the discussion forum, participate in a synchronous chat, and review both formal and informal online courses in a welcoming, patient atmosphere. This course enables students to understand the technical and personal requirements of online learning; demonstrate competencies in the use of the tools available to online learners; possess the ability to reflect on activities and personal development in terms of both processes and tasks; identify effective operational techniques in a variety of learning contexts; appreciate the organizational, environmental and social contexts in which one’s career and life will unfold. Module Description This module aims to: 1. Underpin the skills and attributes required to successfully engage in online learning. 2. Grant students the opportunity to explore personal objectives in their current and future organizational roles through the development of a wide range of skills, behaviors and methodology. Students will be encouraged to reflect critically upon such concepts as self-awareness, lifelong learning and acquiring new skills throughout the module. 1
  2. 2. Welcome to Genco University’s module for online learning. Comparison to Face to Face Courses The expectations of an online courses are different than those of a face-to-face course. i) Time Online courses often work asynchronously, which works well when it's hard to find the time during normal hours to do class-work, but it also means you'll need to check in more often and see what's happening with your class. And that can make it difficult to manage your time because your participation might be more broken up. You might not meet at a specific time every week, but online courses still maintain about the same time commitment. ii) Discipline The time that you might normally meet in class you will have to self-regulate and maintain your commitment. And there won't be a professor standing in front of you. You're the boss, and it's up to you to keep pace with the materials and participate. iii) Expectation In some cases, online courses can be more difficult than face-to-face courses. You'll have to put in essentially the same number of credit hours, and you'll be expected to spend twice that time on assignments. If you're planning on taking a course during an abbreviated session, like winter or some summer sessions, you'll still be expected to put in the same amount of total hours for the course. Each online course can work differently, but there are common expectations among courses. Courses often work around an online course management tool, which includes things like a discussion board, chat, and downloadable presentations. In order to get the most from this environment, you'll need a few items. • a current computer • reliable access to the Internet • software for using common files, like Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, Flash, and Quicktime 2
  3. 3. HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN AN ONLINE COURSE Participating in an online course does not mean that there is less interaction between you, your classmates and your teacher. There are mediums in which you can relay your personality and participate in active discourse, mostly through the use of e-mail and discussion boards. How to get to know your classmates online Online courses are often confused with cold, interaction free courses. It is a common misbelieve that you lose the socialization that face-to-face courses supply. There are ways that a self-motivated learner can ensure an active role in their course. • Be proactive in asking questions of your professor and course-mates if you are unsure about certain concepts. • Actively use the discussion board and remember that written words can relay personality. • Be a self-motivated learner • If you need extra help, don't be afraid to call your professor. 3
  4. 4. How to use a discussion board Discussion Forum The above is discussion forum of Principles of Marketing. The “Forum” icon shows the type of forum in this case the marketing forum. The “Description” icon shows the type of question being discussed. For this course the question was “Discuss the 4Ps of Marketing and their impact on the society. “Discussion” icon shows the number of participants who have posted their views. The “Subscribed” icon shows whether students have subscribed to the forum or not. 4
  5. 5. How to keep up with assignments Keeping up with online course assignments is essential to developing a successful learning experience. • Schedule Time Remember that, in an online course, the time you would normally spend in a classroom is the time you have to allot for in your schedule. Plan accordingly so that you have enough time to read all materials, as well as time to consider questions and respond to discussion boards, or other such mediums. • Create a Routine After your first day of classes, you should have an idea as to how much time it takes you to finish the assigned work. Once you've discovered your teacher's expectations, you should set up a routine that you follow weekly. This does not mean that you must do your reading at the same time and same day every week. The nature of an online course, due to the asynchronous set-up, allows you to choose when you should do your work. But this does not mean that you should ignore standard patterns that'll help you stay on task. WHAT IS ONLINE LEARNING? - Your computer becomes your classroom - Interact with fellow students and your instructor through email and Blackboard - Flexible, convenient…NOT EASIER!!!!! - Requires a minimum of 6-9 hours/week - Includes discussions, assignments, exams … and FIRM deadlines Who Should Take An Online Course? 5
  6. 6. Successful online students have both: – Technology Skills – “Student” Skills Technology Skills – Hardware: Pentium class computer at least 32 MB RAM a 28.8 modem – An Internet Service Provider – Your own email account Able to navigate using the Internet Basic Skills – Type – Use a mouse – Able to Cut, Copy and Paste text – Able to use email – Able to attach a file Table: Computer Requirements Minimum General Requirements Optimum General Requirements (check course syllabus) (check course syllabus) Pentium III or higher Pentium IV or higher 128 MB RAM 512 MB RAM 100 MB free disk space 500 MB free disk space CD-ROM CD-ROM Mouse Mouse 6
  7. 7. 28.8 baud modem or faster connection 56K baud modem or faster connection Anti-virus software (current) Laser or inkjet printer Most current version of a Web browser Backup device Access to fax Windows XP (or higher) Most current version of a Web browser Current anti-virus software Flash disk port READ THE COURSE SYLLABUS The syllabus explains the course organization, the grading policy, the types of assignments & other important information. You are expected to read the syllabus & know its contents. It is recommended to print & save it. Many questions you will be tempted to ask the instructor in an email have already been answered in the syllabus. So, you have a question! How do you ask the instructor a question in an online course? Some possibilities are emails, chats conferences & phone calls (READ THE STUDENTS MOODLE MANUAL FOR MORE INFORMATION). However, rather than answer the same question a “gazillion” times via email, many instructors answer student questions in a conference designated for that purpose & reserve email for highly personal questions only. Learn your OL (Online Learning) instructor’s communication policy and follow it. When is it due? Contrary to popular belief, most online courses are not self-paced; their assignments have firm due dates. The instructor sets the pace. Find the course calendar! Learn the due dates for the assignments in your online course. 7
  8. 8. Are there any penalties for lateness? For what circumstances, if any, can you submit work late? What about office hours? Scheduled online chats are used by some online faculty as office hours. An office hour chat is a great opportunity to ask questions & get immediate answers. Find out if your instructor holds online office hours & “attend” them. I wrote it; now how do I turn it in? “Can’t I just send it as an email attachment?” Maybe, maybe not! Each instructor has a policy about how to submit homework. Learn your instructor’s policy and follow it. – Hint: Check the course syllabus. Mysterious Emails & Filenames!? Want credit for your homework? Name files in a recognizable way: E.g., tjones_ae02 for Tom Jones’ Analytical Essay #2 Always include your name & the assignment name at the head of the document. Want to have an email answered? Then, identify yourself by full name & include course name & reference number. Tour of MOODLE SYSTEM: (READ THE STUDENTS MOODLE MANUAL) TIPS FOR SUCCESS • Budget your time • Don’t procrastinate; don’t get behind • Meet deadlines • Login to Moodle often (3-5 times per week minimum) • Always save a copy of your files • Participate actively • Do your work “off line” and save your files to disk before you send them Confused? Need Help? Questions? Ask your instructor and classmates! 8