Eastern is continually increasing the number of online courses for students who aren’t able to attend classes on campus, commit to a full-time course schedule or need a better way to balance family, work and school. Below is additional information to provide a better understanding of what to expect in an online learning environment.
Many students approach online courses with the mistaken belief that online classes are easier than traditional, face-to-face classes. This is simply not true. Online courses meet the same academic standards and rigor of traditional courses. While the information delivery and learning environment may be different, traditional and online courses will have the same level of quality and subject material for assignments, required reading, activities, exams, etc.
As an online student, you will use Blackboard to communicate with your instructor, access your syllabus and assignments, participate in discussions with your classmates and upload completed work. The courses are developed by faculty and instructional designers who understand the specific needs and goals of students in an online environment.
With no set class time, the flexibility of online learning enables you to study at times that are convenient to you. However, all of your course assignments, exams and other activities must be completed by their respective due dates. Exams may be taken through Blackboard or at an Eastern-approved testing proctoring location. Your instructor will provide details in the course syllabus.
There are many practical reasons for the convenience of online courses, particularly for working professionals, adult learners and those outside Eastern’s geographic area. However, success in an online course requires a lot of self-discipline. Since you’re not going to class and receiving constant reminders from an instructor, it’s up to you to remember to complete readings, submit assignments and meet deadlines.
You will also need easy access to a computer and the Internet. If you don’t have these at home, you may reconsider choosing an online course as it is difficult to rely on a college computer lab, library or family/friend to complete your necessary coursework in a timely manner.
1. Confirm Technical Requirements & Skills
Before the course begins, make sure your computer meets the technical requirements to work with Blackboard. You’ll need basic computer skills to navigate Blackboard’s online tools. Spend some time getting familiar with the system as early as you can. Also, some instructors may require a headset with a microphone and webcam for group discussions or other assignments. Any special requirements will be listed in the course syllabus.
2. Create a Good Study Environment
It’s important to find a quiet place to work without distractions. If possible, let your family and friends know when it’s your time to study.
3. Be Open-Minded
Do not presume that online classes require less work and are easier than traditional, face-to-face classes. In reality, online classes are just as demanding and rigorous as traditional classes. Also, remember that the online learning environment is a different experience than a traditional classroom setting. Be prepared to communicate mostly through the written word through discussion board posts, writing assignments and email.
4. Master Effective Time-Management
Flexibility is one of the greatest benefits of online learning. However, it can also be a drawback for students who procrastinate or are unable to independently complete assignments without reminders. Success in online learning requires responsibility, discipline and commitment.
5. Communicate with your Instructor
Get to know your instructor early and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you run into a problem, address it quickly and before the due date.
6. Participate in the Discussion
Even though you are not in a traditional classroom setting, you will still be expected to contribute your ideas, perspective and comments on the subject you are studying. You will also likely be required to read and respond to those of your classmates as well. You can gain great insight from your fellow students and they can learn from you as well. For online discussions, remember to:
Want to learn more? Contact our Admissions Counseling staff to learn if online learning is right for you.