Online and Distance Learning
Online and Distance Learning
|PC: Windows 10 or Higher||Mac: The 3 most recent versions of Mac OS||Notes|
|Processor||AMD or Intel dual-core 1GHz||Intel Core Series (at least 1.1GHz clock speed) or Apple M series||Tablets and Chromebooks are *NOT* recommend.|
|Storage||64GB SSD||120GB SSD|
|Built In or Remote Web Cam||Required (available for purchase in the College Store)||Required (available for purchase in the College Store)|
|Network||WiFi Capable||WiFi Capable|
|Internet||2 mbps||2 mbps||Satellite connections are *NOT* recommend.|
|Office Suite||Office 365/2021 is available free to students.||Office 365/2021 is available free to students.||Microsoft Access is *NOT* available for Mac OS.|
|Screen Reader||JAWS or NVDA||VoiceOver|
You need to have a basic knowledge of computer and Internet skills in order to be successful in an online course. Here are some of the skills you will need:
- Knowledge of terminology, such as browser, ISP, application, etc.
- Understanding of basic computer hardware and software; ability to perform computer operations, such as:
- Using keyboard and mouse
- Managing files and folders: save, name, copy, move, backup, rename, delete, check properties
- Software installation, security and virus protection
- Using software applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and email clients
- Knowledge of copying and pasting, spell-checking, and saving files in different formats
- Sending and downloading attachments
- Internet skills (connecting, accessing, using browsers) and the ability to perform online research using various search engines and library databases.
- Ability to use online communication tools, such as email (create, send, receive, reply, print, send/receive attachments), discussion boards (read, search, post, reply, follow threads), chats, and messengers.
Reading and Writing Skills
You need to have strong reading skills and be able to communicate effectively through writing. Most of the material in the online environment will come from textbooks and written lectures. Online students communicate through such text-based tools, as emails, discussion forums, chats and instant messaging.
While online courses can offer more flexibility in scheduling, they require more self-discipline and independence than on-campus courses. Some students may miss face-to-face interaction with an instructor and peers. In the online environment, you have to be able to work on tasks on your own and be self-disciplined in order to follow the class schedule and meet deadlines.
Online classes take as much time as regular on-campus classes. You need to set aside sufficient time for study. Plan to spend at least as much time working on the assignments and studying as you would with a traditional course. Note that some students report spending even more time on online classes than on traditional ones. The time that you need to devote to a 3-credit course will be approximately 12 hours a week.
Even though you may not have to "be" in class on a specific day and time, you still have to follow the course schedule provided by your instructor. You are still required to "show up" and participate actively.
You need to log in to your courses at least three to four times per week in order to keep up with the content flow, complete assignments, follow discussions and communicate with your classmates and instructor. Some courses may even require you to log in every day.
Never wait until the last minute to complete your assignments. One of the major reasons for failing online classes is procrastination. Make sure to set aside specific time on a regular basis to participate in your course. Schedule specific times to log in and study.
Online students must be active learners, self-starters who are not afraid to ask questions when they do not understand. Since your instructor cannot see you, you need to "speak up" right away if you have problems and be as specific as possible. Remember that your instructor is not the only source of information. Most of the time you will be able to post your question in the discussion forum and your classmates will help you as well. If you have technical difficulties, problems understanding course content or difficulty meeting the deadline, contact your instructor immediately.