Surviving Online Courses

May 19, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Taking an online course is very very very different from the traditional classroom environment, which you may have guessed (or noticed).  Many students come through my office inquiring about online courses or requesting general advice on completing them without dying. :-/

I've taken MANY online courses through TSTC, DeVry, AIU and UTB. Every college had different requirements and course set-up.  I've put together my top three pieces of advice:

1) READ the syllabus.  This course information sheet will be your best friend when attempting to knock out an online course.  It will have ALL the important information like Instructor Contact Info, Course Requirements and Materials, and above all…it will state the weight of all assignments, quizzes, and tests.  

2) Print out the Grade section.  Every course I've taken online has a section that clearly outlines the items you must turn in for a grade.  This section is typically an automatic creation due to the software program(s) (Learning Management Systems) that schools use.  It is very helpful when an instructor says you are "required" to participate in discussion boards/forums but in all actuality, she isn't officially giving you a grade for it.  

3) Print out the Grading Rubric. The reason for this is that since the course is online, the only way to "officially" measure a student's knowledge is to compare assignments, tasks, etc. with a grading rubric.  This grading rubric is what instructors must go by when grading your assignments.  The BEST thing to do is review the rubric prior to completing the assignment and specifically mention those requirements. With online grading, there is a huge sense of "business is done in writing" approach. Instructors need to prove their reasoning behind the grades they give. 

The above may sound like odd items of advice, but I promise you…it helps. I've learned a lot from my experience and trust…lessons have been learned. 

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