and skills for a successful eLearner
The virtual classroom is
a significant part of today's college experience. In general, successful
open minded about sharing life, work, and educational experiences
as part of the learning process.
Regardless of whether you
are an introverts or extroverts, eLearning requires that you share
and draw upon your past experiences. eLearning often can eliminate
barriers that hinder some individuals in expressing themselves. In
addition, you are given time to reflect on the information before
responding. The online environment should be open and friendly.
able to communicate through writing.
In eLearning, nearly all
communication is written, so it is critical that students feel comfortable
in expressing themselves in writing. Many students have limited writing
abilities, which should be dealt with before or as part of the online
experience. This may require you to visit the Writing Center and/or
make additional efforts to clarify your writing.
Self-motivated and self-disciplined.
With the freedom and flexibility
of eLearning comes responsibility. The online process takes a real
commitment and discipline to keep up with the flow of the process.
Whether you are working
alone, or in a group, contribute your ideas, perspective and comments
on the subject you are studying, and read about those of your classmates.
Your instructor is not the only source of information in your course--you
can gain great insight from your peers and they can learn from you
willing to "speak up" if problems arise.
Many of the feedback systems
instructors use to determine whether students are having problems
(confusion, frustration, boredom, absence, etc.) are not possible
with online courses. If you are experiencing difficulty on any level
(either with the technology or with the course content), you must
communicate this immediately. Otherwise the instructor will never
know what is wrong.
realistic and be willing and able to commit to 4 to 15 hours per week
eLearning is not necessarily
easier than the traditional classroom learning. In fact, many students
say it requires much more time and commitment. You will not have to
keep a class attendance schedule, but you will have to do regular
academic work. Remember you should be spending at least two study
hours each week for every credit you are taking. So if there is insufficient
time in your personal schedule to do the work of the course, you will
interim goals and deadlines for yourself, and stick to them.
Keep a calendar showing
the number of weeks in the semester and mark it off with the amount
of work you need to do each week. Mark in the days when you will expect
to take tests, submit projects, contact the instructor. Don't fall
behind in your work! Keep reminding yourself that you will always
have more to do near the end of a course than at the beginning.
your goals in a study schedule.
Identify study times when
you are fresh and attentive and stick to those times every week. Think
of the study times as "reserved time." If you miss too many study
times, revise your schedule.
Avoid all interruptions
and distractions while you are viewing a video program, listening
to a cassette, reading the textbook, working on the computer, or studying.
Take the telephone off the hook if there is no one available to answer
it but you.
on to your course every single day.
Once you get into the online
communication system, you will be eager to see who has commented on
your postings and read the feedback of your instructor and peers.
You will also be curious to see who has posted something new that
you can comment on. If you let too many days go by without logging
on to your course discussion group, you will get behind and find it
very difficult to catch up.
able to meet the minimum requirements for the program.
The requirements for eLearning
are no less than any course format. The successful student will view
eLearning as a convenient way to take a course and study, not an easier
the program and yourself seriously.
Elicit the support of your
colleagues, family and friends before you start out on your online
adventure. This built-in support system will help you tremendously
since there will be times when you will have to sit at your computer
for hours at a stretch in the evenings and on weekends. When most
people are through with work and want to relax is most likely when
you will be bearing down on your course work. It helps to surround
yourself with people who understand and respect what you are trying
advantage of your anonymity.
One of the biggest advantages
of eLearning is that you can pursue your studies without the judgments
typical in a traditional classroom. Unless you are using video conferencing,
no one can see you, there are no stereotypes, and you don't have to
be affected by raised eyebrows, rolled eyeballs, other students stealing
your thunder, or people making other non verbal reactions to your
contributions. You don't have to feel intimidated or upstaged by students
who can speak faster than you because you can take all of the time
you need to think your ideas through and compose a response before
posting your comments to your class.
able to think ideas through before responding.
Meaningful and quality
input into the virtual classroom is an essential part of the learning
process. Time is given in the process to allow for the careful consideration
of responses. The testing and challenging of ideas is encouraged;
you will not always be right, just be prepared to accept a challenge.
that high quality learning can take place without going to a traditional
If you feel that a traditional
classroom is required for learning, then you may be more comfortable
in a face-to-face classroom. eLearning is not for everybody. A student
that wants to be on a traditional campus attending a traditional classroom
is probably not going to be happy online. While the level of social
interaction can be very high in the virtual classroom given that many
barriers come down in the online format, it is not the same as living
in a dorm on a campus.
Information used with permission
from Terra Community College, Illinois Online Network, http://illinois.online.uillinois.edu/IONresources/onlineoverview/studentprofile.html
What are the benefits? | Is
it for me? | What skills do I need? | Is
my computer ready?
What campus resources are available? | What
can ISU do to support eLearners?