Communication is the Key to Success Being an Effective Online Learner
Advantages of Online LearningMore and more people are choosing to participate in an onlinelearning classroom instead of the traditional face-to-faceclassroom. There are many advantages to online learning:Class work can be scheduled around work and familyReduces travel time and travel costsAnytime/Anywhere learningFosters more interaction among students and instructors thanin large lecture courses
Disadvantages of Online LearningLearners with low motivation or bad study habitsmay fall behindStudents may get lost or confused about courseactivities and deadlinesStudents may feel isolated from the instructor andclassmatesInstructors many not always be available whenstudents are studying or need help
Good communication = a successful learner “Failing to establish and maintain communication with professors and fellow classmates typically lead to failure. In online learning, establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships with classmates facilitates the exchange of ideas and opinions. This communication also develops a better understanding of course and program materials. Keeping open communication with a course professor is critical for understanding requirements and clearing up any assignment confusions.”This quote is from D. Wetzel (2009). 5 Common Mistakes indistance Education. Retrieved from May 15, 2012http://www.suite101.com/content/5-common-distance-education-mistakes-a94604
Are you ready to be an online learner?Students need to make sure that they areready for the online course. To be successfulin an online class it is important that studentsare highly motivated to learn, have goodorganizational skills, and are willing tocommunicate with others.
Scenarios for Successful CommunicationScenario 1: In order to have a successful online communitycommunication must go both ways. Students must be responsibleand timely in their coursework and they must communicate withthe instructor as well as their classmates. Teachers are also animportant part of the success of that communication, they need to“show up and teach”. Students in an online class rely on theinstructor to follow the established course schedule and deliver thecourse within the scheduled time frame. Instructors can create amutually successful online environment by posting grades in atimely manner and offering feedback on assignments. Students willfeel that the instructor is interested in what they have to say andthat motivates them to communicate and be a responsiblecontributor to the online community.
Communication- Scenario 2 Online courses should always begin with icebreaker or teambuilding activities that are designed for learners and teachers to get to know each other. Instructors can offer creative ways for students to introduce themselves to the instructor and the rest of the class via an online discussion board. Make sure that students are also required to comment on other students’ posts so that the relationships can become deeper and more learning can occur.
Communication- Scenario 3 When instructors practice proactive course management strategies such as monitoring assignment submission, communicating, and reminding students of missed and/or upcoming deadlines students feel more connected to the online learning community. Having no guidance from the instructor may lead to frustrated students. It is also each students responsibility to communicate with the instructor and other students by asking questions, sharing information, and being proactive in their own learning.
Communication is everyone’s Responsibility Murphy and Rodriques-Manzanares identified six categories of rapport building in distance education:1. Recognizing the person/individual2. Supporting and monitoring3. Availability, accessibility, and responsiveness4. Non text-based interactions5. Tone of interactions6. Non-academic conversations/interaction
ReflectionA successful online learning community can be built if thatcommunity is based on open communication that includesteacher to student, student to student, and group interactions.Students must be made aware of all the people that areincluded in this learning environment. Online students must beself motivated and committed to being a proactive, engaged,and contributing part of the online learning community. Onlinestudents need to take responsibility for their learning and theymust keep communication with their instructors and fellowclassmates at the forefront of their “to do” list. Communicationis the key to success and keeping that communication goingboth ways will help students as well as instructors takeownership of the learning environment.