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Orientation for Online Learners
Is Distance Learning For Me?
Distance learning can be a wonderful way for you to achieve your educational goals. Distance courses offer increased flexibility allowing you to balance family, work and school like never before!
It is important to realize that success in an online/web course requires self-discipline, motivation, organization and you must possess reasonably strong written communication skills. If you have the right qualities to be a successful online student, you will find online learning both convenient and rewarding. Here are a few things to consider before you decide to enroll in an online or on demand class:
- Do you have self-discipline and motivation?
- Online/web courses are asynchronous, which means you have the freedom to participate and complete your assignments at different times throughout the day and week. The increased freedom and flexibility makes it possible for you to complete your course work at a time that's most convenient for you. However, with this increased flexibility comes increased responsibility. Without the structure/accountability of regular class meetings, it is easy to procrastinate, and fall behind in the course. Remember, it is up to you to keep up with assignments. One strategy we recommend is to keep a comprehensive calendar that includes all of your upcoming assignments, due dates for papers, presentations, etc., and check it regularly.
- Are you able to commit time each day or week to your online course(s)?
- Online/web courses often require at least as much time as face-to-face courses. Completing course assignments and other learning activities can take several hours each week. We recommend checking your blackboard course a minimum of 3 times each week, and you may find that you need to do so almost every day. Make sure you can make this commitment prior to enrolling in the course(s).
- Do you have strong written communication skills?
- In online courses nearly all communication is written, so it is critical that you have strong written communication skills. If you feel that you are weak in this area, try to brush up on your writing skills. You can also contact the Online Writing Center at WKU, and have them review your work. They will meet with you live through Adobe Connect or provide a recording of their suggestions via Tegrity. The Learning Center at WKU also provides online tutoring in several subject areas.
- Do you feel comfortable asking questions?
- If you find that you are having difficulty understanding assignments or accessing course materials, you should contact your instructor as soon as possible. Communication is especially important in an online environment, since you do not have the same type of interaction online as you do in a traditional classroom setting. If you do not ask questions, the instructor will never know there is a problem.
- Are you reasonably comfortable using computers and the Internet?
- A personal computer is required for online courses. You do not need to be an expert, nor do you need a high-tech computer, but you do need to have some basic technology skills, such as word processing and using a Web browser. You also need regular access to the internet. For more information on hardware and software requirements click here. If this is not possible, you may wish to consider print, email or CD ROM course options through WKU On Demand.
Proceed to "Technology Requirements"
Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,