With the freedom and flexibility of the online environment comes responsibility. The online process takes a real commitment and discipline to keep up with the flow of the process.
Once you get into the online 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.
Just because you are anonymous, doesn’t mean you should let yourself go. Remember, you are dealing with real people on the other end. Being polite and respectful is not only common sense, it is absolutely obligatory for a productive and supportive online environment! In a positive online environment, you will feel valued by your instructor, valued by your classmates, and your own work will have greater value!
Be willing and able to commit to 4 to 6 hours per week per course.
In the virtual classroom, nearly all communication is written, so it is critical that learners feel comfortable in expressing themselves in writing. Be sure to use the spell check before posting responses.
Many of the non-verbal communication mechanisms that instructors use in determining whether learners are having problems (confusion, frustration, boredom, absence, etc.) are not possible in the online paradigm. If a learner is experiencing difficulty on any level (either with the technology or with the course content), s/he must communicate this immediately. Otherwise the instructor will never know what is wrong.
The requirements for online are no less than that of any other quality educational program. The successful learner will view online as a convenient way to receive their education, not an easier way.
The learning process requires the learner to make decisions based on facts as well as experience. Assimilating information and executing the right decisions requires critical thought.
The communication medium is a computer and internet service; the learner must have access to the necessary equipment.
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.
Introverts as well as extroverts find that online learning requires them to utilize their experiences. This forum for communication eliminates the visual barriers that hinder some individuals in expressing themselves. In addition, the learner is given time to reflect on the information before responding.