For some students, online learning is a more convenient way to meet their academic goals. While true that online courses allow students more flexibility in designing an academic plan that fits their schedule, it is important to remember that they are not, as some may believe, easier than face-to-face courses. Online courses require a lot of self-direction and self-discipline for successful completion.
You should be prepared to spend on average 10 hours per course per week preparing for, interacting in, and completing assignments for an online course. You don’t have to be a computer wizard to take an online course, but you will need to be quite comfortable with your computer system and with Canvas, KCC’s learning management system, and have a basic knowledge of software tools such as a word processor, e-mail, browsers, and search engines.
Before deciding to enroll in an online course, consider your answers to these questions:
- Do you have access to a reliable computer and internet provider?
- Are you comfortable navigating through Canvas?
- Are you able to communicate effectively through writing?
- Are you a self-motivated learner?
- Do you have the self-discipline necessary to schedule your own study time for this course?
- Do you feel comfortable learning outside a face-to-face environment?
- Are you able to successfully send and receive e-mail messages?
- Are you comfortable using a browser to navigate the internet and locate information?
If your answer to many of the questions above is “no,” you should reconsider enrolling in an online course.
To determine if online courses are a good fit for you, take the OASIS online learning self-assessment.
Is Hybrid Learning For Me?
While an online course is conducted entirely on the Internet (using Canvas) with no time spent interacting face-to-face in a classroom, hybrid courses mix face-to-face instruction with online instruction. You will attend class AND have activities and assignments to complete online in Canvas. A hybrid course allows you to take advantage of the best features of both face-to-face and online activities. They reinforce or complement one another. The online component of a hybrid course is not considered an add-on or duplicate do what is taught in the classroom; it is part of your course instruction.
Hybrids are an excellent choice if:
- Time is an issue and it would be more convenient for you to spend less time on campus and more time working from home.
- You prefer to maintain some personal contact with your instructor and fellow students, rather than engage in an entirely online mode of instruction.
- You are interested in experiencing engaged and interactive learning both in the classroom and online.
- You are comfortable using computers, navigating the Internet, and downloading and attaching files.
What Can I Do To Be A Successful Learner?
Regardless of how course content is delivered, the following strategies apply.
Be Self-Directed — Success in online and hybrid courses depends on self-discipline and the ability to learn without or with limited face-to-face interaction with your instructor. KCC’s online and hybrid courses maintain the same rigor and high standards present in face-to-face courses.
Take Responsibility for Your Success — The ability to access your online and hybrid course from almost anywhere anytime does not suggest there is no structure nor deadlines in these courses. Be sure you are fully aware of your instructor’s expectations and requirements and assignment due dates.
Have Access to Technology and Know How to Use It — Being comfortable using the Internet and word processing software and navigating Canvas are necessary when taking an online or hybrid course. Instructors are prepared to help you with the course content, but they cannot teach you computer literacy skills at the same time. It is your responsibility to reach out to on-campus resources when you need help. As soon as you have access to the course, make sure you can access all the course activities and tasks, including navigating among threaded, nested, read, and unread discussion posts and replies. The ability to fully access and utilize all course materials and activities will greatly increase your opportunity for success.
Log Into Your Course Every Day — It’s far too easy to fall behind in an online or hybrid course if you are not interacting in the course daily. Get in the habit of checking course content often so you’ll never feel disconnected from the work, your instructor, or your classmates.
Attend the Face-to-Face Course Meetings for Hybrid Courses — In hybrid courses, regardless of discipline, you will be required to attend face-to-face meetings on campus as well as interact in Canvas. Be sure you attend those class sessions. Valuable instruction will be delivered and you don’t want to miss out.
Participate in the Course — Contribute your ideas and comments on the subject you are studying and read those of your classmates. The instructor is not the only source of information in your course. You can gain real insight from your classmates and they can learn from you, as well.
Set Reminders for Yourself — Organizing your coursework and learning how best to manage your time in an online or hybrid course is important. Keep track of the work that needs to be done using a planner, your phone, or even a handwritten list.
Have a Private Place to Study — This is very important. Remove yourself from distractions that may quickly take you away from the work you’re doing in your course.
Get to Know Someone Else in Your Class — Having another contact in your course outside of your instructor is important.
Reach Out When You Need Help — Know where to go to get the help you need. Communicate any and all problems immediately to your instructor. Be proactive, not reactive. You have a better chance for success if you let someone know you’re struggling immediately rather than waiting until you’re too far behind in the course to make up any work.
Where Can I Get Help If I Need It?
Course Questions — Your instructor’s e-mail information and office hours (where applicable) should be listed on your course syllabus. Don’t wait to reach out to ask these questions. Establish a relationship with your instructor at the beginning of the semester. Remember, your instructor can’t help you if he/she doesn’t know what you need.
Technology — The ITS Help Desk is available Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on campus in L364 and by calling 815.802.8900 or e-mailing email@example.com.
Tutoring — Tutoring services are available on campus, as well, supporting many various disciplines. Check out the tutoring locations listed on the tutoring services website.