What to expect
Is online learning for me?
Below you will find a series of questions for you to consider before registering for an online course. This is to make certain that you are qualified to be a successful online learner.
Do you have access to a computer with a reliable internet connection and a word processor?
In order be a successful online student you will need access to a reliable computer with with an internet connection. For nearly all online courses you will need to have access to a program such as Microsoft Word that will allow you to write papers. (Note that after you are admitted, you will be able to download Microsoft Office 365 for free!) Some instructors require a Webcam.
Would you feel comfortable learning without having face-to-face interaction with your instructor?
Online courses take place via the internet. Most courses have been designed to be delivered in an asynchronous format (anytime/anywhere – 24 hours/7 days a week). Thus, you will not have any face-to-face interaction with your instructor or classmates unless noted on the schedule of classes or in the course syllabus. However, there will be a great deal of interaction via e-mail and online discussions. Therefore, you are required to know how to send and receive e-mail messages with attachments before starting an online course. If you prefer face-to-face interaction with your instructor you should consider attending traditional classes on campus.
Can you dedicate a minimum of six to eight hours per week to participate in the online learning environment?
As with traditional college classes, online courses require the same amount of time (minimum of six to eight hours per week) for study time and completing assignments. Online courses have the same rigor and depth of information as traditional courses.
Are you a highly self-motivated and self-disciplined learner?
To be a successful online student you will need to be highly motivated and self-disciplined in terms of arranging your time for studying and completing assignments in a timely and structured manner. Remember, your will not have the face-to-face reinforcement of an instructor to keep you on task. However, the instructors will follow-up with you via e-mails, phone calls, or letters.
Do you have good time management skills?
Excellent time management skills are a good indication that students will perform well in an online course. Due to the fact that the format of online courses are asynchronous, it is easy to fall behind or wait until the last minute to complete assignments.
Are you able to send and receive e-mails with attachments?
The majority of the interaction with your instructor and classmates will be through e-mail and an online program called Canvas. You should have a good understanding of how e-mail works, as well as be able to send and open e-mail attachments.
Do you feel comfortable reading and completing assignments without immediate feedback from an instructor?
Again, the design of this program allows for students to access their course assignments at any time and any where / 24 hours – 7 days a week. Students will not receive immediate feedback in terms of questions and evaluation of assignments. Example: if you are accessing your course on the weekend and have a question for your instructor – your instructor might not respond to that question until the following Monday. This may become frustrating for students if immediate feedback is required to complete assignments.
Do you think that online learning is less or more difficult than traditional classroom instruction?
Online courses have the same rigor and depth of information as traditional courses. The differences are in the delivery design. Many studies have shown that students actually learn more through online learning; however, everyone is different in what method they prefer. Some students find that attending traditional classes are best suited for their learning style. Others enjoy the flexibility of online.
How can I access on-campus services?
All of the services you need are available online or by phone. You can order your textbooks online or by phone at the University Bookstore. The library offers online access to extensive databases and Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad). If you need technical help with Canvas, e-mail, or myGate, you can contact the Service Desk at (270) 809-2346.
Do you prefer solving problems on your own?
Please know that you will be required to use problem solving skills and methods for many of your courses. Online courses contain a great deal of written instructions and interactive problem solving activities. You will have many problem solving assignments, knowledge and skills application activities, and case studies. You will have to make decisions based on those instructions without the immediate aid of your instructor or classmates.
Online course instructors have been trained to provide supplementary materials and websites to assist you in solving problems. However, if you experience problems with assignments, contact your instructor via e-mail or call the instructor during the noted office hours located on the course syllabus.