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How an On-Line Class Works


Welcome to Online Learning!

In an online course, students work on assignments at home, using e-mail and the Web to communicate with other students and the instructor. There are also mandatory on-campus meetings that all students must attend. Be sure you know those dates!

How does it work?

An online course follows a schedule and syllabus (just like an on-campus course), but students can do the work during the day, early mornings, late evenings, or even on the weekends. Instead of attending lectures, online students use the class notes, textbooks, assignments, and video demonstrations to learn.

The schedule on the course Web site links to assignment instructions and resources. Blackboard (an online course management system) is used for announcements, discussion, submitting assignments, quizzes, email, and checking grades. Students are responsible for reading the textbooks and handouts and completing all class learning activities on their own, but help is available by phone, office hours, Blackboard discussion, or Blackboard e-mail.

You mean I don't have to come to class?
That's right! You can set your own work hours and do everything wherever the course software is installed.


So what do I need to be an online student?

Here's what you need to be able to succeed in an online course:

Access to a computer with Internet access (e-mail, Internet Explorer).

For English 122, you will need word processing software and the following:

Engl 122 Handbook [pick up at orientation]
Textbook (see syllabus for your course)
Ability and willingness to work independently.
Solid experience with Internet and with Windows. (Can you troubleshoot problems or do you have access to technical support? Could you e-mail me a URL or a file?)
Excellent reading and writing skills.
TIME! Successful students schedule at least 3 hours per unit each week to work on the class.

Course Management and Communication

Blackboard is a course management tool used to communicate (discussion forum and e-mail), submit assignments, take quizzes and exams, and check grades. Plan to check Blackboard 3 times a week. Course announcements will be posted to the Blackboard discussion forum.

Occasionally I will contact you by email. Please make sure Admissions and Records has your correct email as that is what they upload to Blackboard and it is my only means of contacting you.

Assignments are posted on the course Web site with due dates and instructions for turning in the work. Usually, you'll submit a file to Blackboard. Look for feedback and a grade on Blackboard within a week of the due date.

Quizzes are on Blackboard, and you will usually have a week to take a quiz. Most of the time you will get immediate feedback and your score is posted as soon as you submit your quiz.

Post your questions at the Blackboard discussion forum. You should get an answer by the next business day. Email me if your question is urgent or personal. You can also call, email me, or stop by my office. See my home page for contact information and my schedule.

Do you have any tips for online students?

a] Keep up with the class. The biggest problem online students have is gradually falling behind. You lose points when assignments are late, and you may be dropped from the class if you get behind.

b] Schedule at least 9 hours per week to focus on a 3-unit class.

c] Work with a small group, either in-person or via phone or e-mail.

d] Contact your instructor as soon as you begin to have problems or if you decide to drop. A lot of times, a short visit or phone call can clear up a question that might otherwise trouble you for days.

e] Check Blackboard message system, announcements and online discussion at least 3 times a week..

f] Have a back-up plan in case your computer crashes.

Former students offered these tips:

a] Start early on projects and remain focused.

b] Find a partner and work with him/her. The input is of great value, and you always have peer review.
Talk online with each other and find a friend.

c] Don't put off any of the assignments.

d] Don't be afraid to ask questions.

e] This is not an easy class. Stay on top of assignments.

f] Be ready to go quickly with all the necessary components (software, books, computer, Internet)

g] Don’t be shy about asking questions. There’s no point in struggling for more than 15 minutes on a problem.

h] Don’t wait until the last minute to start an assignment. If you run into a problem, it may take time to get help.

Here's what students liked about online learning:
I enjoyed having the time to work at home at my convenience.
Not being held down to a "class time" allowed me to attend class online during my most creative times.
I liked online interaction from other classmates
love the online, my schedule, I'm in control
I liked the fact that I could do it at home. It does prove difficult at times, but having a partner is terrific.
What I enjoyed most was being able to work on my own projects.
Self pace, good communication, online discussion
I enjoyed learning a new program and seeing what other students created.
It was fun, interesting, and creative.
Quick response time to e-mailed questions. Class was well organized, but would be easier face-to-face.
The freedom of not having to come to class, the abundance of information at the course web site, quick feedback to assignments

Here's what students didn't like:
It is harder to stay motivated and put the time in
Some things are hard to explain by e-mail or phone
You will miss some of the details covered in the Face-to-Face class
It’s harder for your teacher to get to know you

Good Luck!


Last Updated: 08/19/2015
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District