Myth #1 – You Will Be Taught How to Use a Computer
Fact: Students need to have minimal computer competencies such as knowing basic word-processing knowledge and a working knowledge of the Internet (what it is, how to get to it, how to navigate around it, how to send an email, etc.). Some instructors provide instruction in the use of specific tools they utilize in their courses. Contact the SFCC Tutoring Center in room 204 if you need to learn basic computer and Internet skills.
Myth #2 – Cramming Your Work into One Log-on Session
Fact: Most online classes require students to log on several times a week to ensure active participation and maximum learning. It is very difficult to take in all the material in one sitting. And because of the nature of the class with no physical contact, it is important to maintain contact by logging in several times a week.
Myth #3 – Online Courses Are Easy Credits
Fact: Because of the nature of online classes with so much reading, these classes tend to take more time than a traditional class. Students are encouraged to take no more than two online classes at one time due to the intensive reading required and the extensive time commitment. Many students find that an online class takes between seven and ten hours per week. Students need to go into an online class knowing that the class will require as much, if not more time and effort as any traditional class.
Myth #4 – Online Courses Do Not Follow the Regular Semester
Fact: The truth is, many classes at SFCC follow the regular semester and many don’t. Whenever you enroll in an online course, be sure to take note of the beginning and ending dates. Your courses become available on the begin date, not before. You can, however, take orientation courses at any time. Most importantly, you need to be “present” in the class several times each week.
Myth #5 – Broken Computers Are Great Excuses
Fact: Students have many options in dealing with breakdowns of their own system. Most instructors will not accept excuses involving broken equipment. Many computers are available to students on the SFCC campus. In addition, public libraries provide Internet access, Kinkos rents time on computers and provides Internet access and Internet cafes are to be found all over the world. With this much availability, the motivated and committed student can always find a computer to complete assignments on time.
Myth #6 – A Computer Will Be Provided
Fact: SFCC does not provide computers as a normal matter. You may be able to obtain a loaner computer through TRiO Student Support Services, room 201. Financial assistance guidelines apply.
Myth #7 – Anytime, Anywhere…Well Not Exactly
Fact: Most courses have definite time frames for accomplishing assigned reading, writing, participating in discussions and other activities. This is to ensure the best online experience for everyone so that everyone is at the same place at the same time, interacting with each other. Not twenty-five people doing their own thing. Deadlines and due dates are what help to keep the class progressing together.
Myth #8 – I Can Hide Out and Remain Anonymous
Fact: Most online classes have a discussion component. Students are required to participate in online discussions and, according to students who have done so, are able to get to “know” each other in a very open and honest way. This discussion, while not “face to face” still allows a wonderful exchange of ideas and the opportunity for “shy” students to open up in an unthreatening and protective environment. Often shy students respond that the online environment helps them gain confidence in their ability to interact with others, a confidence not available in a traditional class.
Myth #9 – It Is OK To Procrastinate
Fact: Students who take an online class need to be very self-disciplined and motivated. Students need to be independent learners who can take responsibility for completing assignments on time and meeting set deadlines. It is very easy to get behind since there is no teacher standing up at the front of the class reinforcing what’s due when. Students must be able to set their own schedules and stick to them. Online courses provide flexibility, in terms of when the assignment is done, but students need to be able to manage this flexibility accordingly and not use that flexibility to put off doing the work. Online classes put more of the responsibility on the learner.
Myth #10 – There Is No Personal Attention from Your Teacher
Fact: Actually, students who have taken online classes say they feel more connected to their professors than in the traditional classroom. Most professors are logging on daily, checking for questions, assignments, problems, and usually get back to students right away. In fact, SFCC instructors commit to a maximum response time to your questions, generally 24 hours. Students have commented that the online environment feels like someone is “always there” instead of just there twice a week as in a traditional class. There is still the option of calling the professor on the phone for clarification.
Hints for Success in Your Online Class
- Designate certain times each week to work on your course. Plan ahead; avoid procrastination; even out your workload; absorb material before moving on.
- Have a specific achievement goal for each log-on session to help you accomplish what you need to get done and avoid distractions.
- Actively participate in discussions. Meaningful interchange will lead to better understanding of various aspects of the course and also contribute to the personality and warmth of the classroom community.
- If assigned to an online team or study group, work with your team members actively from the start. Thus, team members will benefit from each others’ ideas and experiences and can depend on one another to complete assigned tasks.
- Practice an informal but organized, concise, and clear writing style that aids online communication.
- Ask questions. Head off problems early by asking questions of the help desk staff, the librarians, your instructor, and/or fellow students as soon as a difficulty arises. Don’t procrastinate!
- Venture beyond the classroom. The Internet medium of the online classroom gives ready access to electronic libraries and to pertinent websites that offer a significant advantage in understanding course material.
- Your class may occasionally use short multimedia components to enrich the learning environment. Follow instructions provided by your instructor.