Online learning is a wonderful way for children and adults to continue their education. As an online educator for
the past nine years, I have worked with a
number of students, ranging from middle
school all the way up to graduate school,
who have utilized the expanding technologies to take classes. I have observed
many benefits of an online course, which
offers the student an opportunity to gain
wonderful skills that go well beyond just
the subject area of the class. It is exciting
to see how this newest generation is embracing the technological tools that allow
online learning to even be possible.
Numerous class formats are available
to students who wish to take a class on-line. With home education, a student can
take a class through an online program or
can complete an entire curriculum using
an online format. It does allow somewhat
for a self-paced approach to the learning,
but in most cases there are set deadlines
that a student will need to follow.
Online learning is a wonderful way for children
and adults to continue their education.
Online Course Components
While each program is unique, online
courses share similar components, including these:
1. Email—The email tool allows students to communicate with their instructor to ask questions, possibly submit assignments, and receive additional
information from the instructor. Most
of the online programs provide an email
address that is associated with a course
so that all communication can be maintained in one location. Email is a great
way to reach out to the instructor and to
document instructions, feedback, etc.
2. Discussion—Many classes imple-
ment a discussion forum where students
can post responses to class questions and
interact with other students in the course.
This is a great way to build learning in the
online environment as students comment
on various discussion prompts. A student
might work with others to solve a prob-
lem, to create a project, or just to share
what he has learned about the topic. This
is the primary way that students will en-
gage in the learning process with other
4. Assessments—The type of assessment may vary from an online quiz or
test to a required project related to course
objectives. Quizzes and tests often provide
immediate feedback to the learner to assess what was learned in a given lesson.
Typically a course will be divided into
a variety of units or weeks. Students
may access a particular week’s agenda
and find all the information they need
housed within that one folder.
How to Be Successful in an
An online course requires different strategies than those required in a typical
classroom situation. The following seven
strategies will help an online student get
off to a great start.
1. Begin the course on time. That step
seems obvious, but it is essential that the
student log into the course on the very first
day that it is available. Some instructors
may have requirements early on in a class.
Getting started early will help the student
learn to be prepared and to stay organized.
2. Read all course start-up information.
Use of a syllabus is common in online