a Date With Your Online Course
out your calendar now, before you begin, and block out specific
times you have available to work on your online course.
We have found that the most successful online learners log
into their courses on a regular (if not daily) basis. Since
each learner and course is different, it is impossible to
estimate the exact number of hours a given course will require.
As a rule of thumb, you should plan on spending at least
as much time in your online course as you would spend in
an actual face-to-face classroom, plus whatever additional
time might be required to complete out-of-class assignments.
a Good Communicator
written communication is vital to online learning, you will
want to put your best foot forward in your communications
with your professor and your classmates. It is generally
a good idea to prepare all written communications in a word
processing program (e.g., Microsoft Word) before copying
and pasting them into Blackboard Learn. This will give you an opportunity,
not only to review and spell-check your document, but also
to reflect upon what you have written to make sure it communicates
exactly what you want to say. Clear communication is particularly
important in public areas (e.g., the discussion forum) where
misunderstandings can easily occur.
is no room (or reason) for "shyness" in the online
environment. You will get more from your online learning
experience if you are willing to share your ideas and comments
with your professor and classmates through Blackboard Learn's communication
tools (Messages, Discussion Forum, Chat, etc.).
addition to setting up a specific time to log into your
online course, you may also wish to develop some strategies
to help you get organized. Some students find it helpful
to print lengthy documents and put them in a binder or portfolio,
while others prefer to do all their reading online. One
thing we strongly recommend is that you establish a folder
on your computer and save all the documents you create for
your class to that folder. This will not only help you
get organized, but will also provide you with a back-up
copy of your class work in the event that you should need
Charge of Your Learning
an online course, the professor's role changes from "sage
on the stage" to "guide on the side." Research has demonstrated
that students learn best when they have an active rather
than a passive role in their learning. Self-directed learners
need to be disciplined, motivated, and able to work independently
Make Sure Your Computer Is Ready
beginning your course, review the hardware and software
requirements and check Blackboard's list of compatible browsers to
be sure that your computer will be ready to
access your course on the first day of the semester. See
"Getting Started" for further information.
Our Online Tutorial
suggest that all new online learners complete The CyberPrimer,
our online tutorial designed to prepare you to be a successful
online learner before logging into your class for the first
time. Access to the CyberPrimer will be available to all
enrolled online learners approximately two weeks before
the semester begins.
Help When You Need It
you need help with an academic issue, it is usually best
to use Blackboard Learn’s self-contained e-mail tool to e-mail
the professor within the course or follow specific instructions
that your professor may provide for contacting him/her.
If you have a non-academic, course support issue you may
contact the Department of Online Learning via e-mail 24 hours
a day, seven days a week. A response will be made to you
within 24 hours.
the Most Important Tip of All: Enjoy Your Course!