Online learning habits of successful students
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Tips for success in the online class
Want to be a good online student? Develop good habits and stick with them. Here are habits
that lead to success in learning via the Internet:
- Schedule learning time.
- Online classes offer a great deal of flexibility, but they
require at least as much time as regular classes. A normal three semester credit-hour class will
require 2100 minutes of classroom time. That is 35 hours of actual in-class time. For each hour
of in-class time, students should spend two hours in preparation (reading, studying) and
completion of assignments. That is a total of 105 hours of work (35 plus 70) for one class. In an
on-campus class this is spread out over 11 or more weeks, so it amounts to approximately 8-10
hours a week for each class taken. Full-time students will take three or four classes at a time
making their school load 30 to 40 hours a week. (This is why it is called full-time.) Online
classes only last six weeks. This means that a student is going to spend 15-20 hours a week
involved in one class. If students take two classes at a time, this is going to amount to 30-40
hours of study time per week.
Even though there is flexibility in online learning, time must
be allocated each week to complete the assignments. Students should set aside 4-5 hours on a
couple of days each week to do the required preparation (reading, research) and completion of
assignments. In addition, each student should set aside an hour or two each day to connect and
respond to notes. Online learning works best when it is scheduled and the schedule is kept.
Remember: Develop good habits.
- Do college-level work.
- This online program is college-level work. While a
great deal of email and newsgroup activity is casual with spelling and good grammar not being
big issues, take care in your college classes to spell words correctly. Use the spell checker!
Then, before sending notes, re-read them. This will help you catch missed words or unclear
thoughts. Typically, the formal assignments will require good spelling and grammar. If
formatting is required, follow an MLA Handbook.
- Meet the attendance requirement.
- Many online courses have attendance policies requiring stuents to connect and submit a
meaningful or substantive note at least five days of each week. This attendance requirement
reflect the importance that participation and involvement have in the online classes. Sometimes
schedules get crazy and it may become impossible to spend a lot of time in class work on a
specific day. Still, you must take at least a few minutes to connect and send a response note. This
can be done in 10 minutes or less. The fastest way to see your grade deteriorate is to miss this
attendance requirement. [ more on
- Keep up.
- Online classes are usually only about six weeks long. So they are
considered to be intensive. In an intensive class, it is critical that students not fall behind. Turn
your assignments in on time. Read ahead. The most important advice an online student can get is:
Don't get behind.
If for some reason you get behind on an assignment, it is better to get the next assignment in on
time, rather than playing catch-up on assignment after assignment. When you have a little extra
time and are all caught up, go back and pick-up the assignment you missed.
- Solve problems right away.
- Faculty want you be a successful learner. If you are
having any problems, let professors know immediately. They will work with you and give you
guidance. The worst thing you can do is to stop participating, and not let anyone know
The learning process in online classes is different from that which you find in
a typical traditional classroom.
Sage-on-the-stage versus Guide-on-the-side
In the traditional classroom, most students expect to be
taught by a content expert who typically lectures for a good portion of the class. This content
expert has come to be called the "sage on the stage" by those writing in the field of online
education. The "sage on the stage" is the focus of the classroom attention with students striving
to learn as much as possible from the instructor. If dialog takes place in the classroom, it is
usually between the instructor and the student. Rarely is there dialog between one student and
In the online environment the learning process comes from
within the learning community as students reflect upon the course material and share their
thoughts with other students. The online instructor is often referred to as a facilitator or as a
"guide on the side." The facilitator guides the flow of the class and enables the students to learn
from each other in a collaborative manner.
What does it mean to the online learner?
People new to online learning will soon realize that
there are differences in how learning takes place and differences in what the student's role is in
the learning process. In a traditional classroom setting, a student may walk into class, sit in the
back of the classroom, and offer very little in the way of contributions to the class. While that
student may have listened and taken notes, the rest of the class and the professor have little
awareness of how much that particular student has learned or how much he or she knows about
the topic. Whatever that student has done to prepare for that day's class session may not be
clearly evident to anyone else in the class. One reason is that the evaluation of the student will
take place during the final examination, or through papers and assignments turned in to the
In the online class, every student sits on the front row and
actively participates in all aspects of the class. Online students must adequately prepare for the
class in order to participate. Evaluation of the students' understanding of the material is based
upon their daily involvement rather than on a single event such as a final examination or major
To be a successful online learner, the student must be
actively and creatively engaged in the entire learning process. A great benefit of the online class
is the amount of time available for student reflection and response. In a typical classroom setting,
the instructor may pose a question to which an answer is expected immediately. In the online
environment, a student may think about the question, research it, and reflect upon the best way to
answer before sending his or her answer to the classroom. Students who tend to be more
introverted find a new freedom in class participation in the online environment.
Successful online students are those who are self-disciplined
and highly motivated to learn. Productive online students need the ability to work alone while
also being able to demonstrate to others good thinking and reflection skills.
|What kind of online student are you? Do others think of you as Busy or Wordy or
Disconnected Dan? Do you sometimes come off to others as Oblivious or Trite-ly or even End-
times Edith? . . [ read more ]|
SNU missions course materials and syllabi
Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132
| Phone: 405-740-4149 - Fax: 405-491-6658
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