Overview of Online Classes
Experiencing an Online Class
Online classes allow you to work on your own time frame 24/7, but each course has a weekly schedule that you must adhere to. You interact a great deal with your instructor and fellow students, but you do so virtually, i.e. online, emails, discussions, announcements, and lectures. Let's take you through an analogy of what an online class is like.
On the first day of class, you would need to login to the online course you signed up for through the admissions office by using the Learning Management System of the college. For Southwest, that would be Etudes (myetudes.org). Once you have successful logged in, you will see, for example, a message from your instructor, a link to the syllabus, lectures, course materials, announcements, and custom links your instructor may have posted.
There will be a navigation bar, usually on the left of your screen, that will also link you to various lessons, assignments, and quizzes for the entire semester. As you click these links, for example, you may also find an area titled "discussions". Once you enter into the discussions forum, you will then see posts from other students who are taking the same course. You will begin to interact with your classmates through discussions, the chat room and the message center.
Meanwhile, your instructor throughout the semester, normally weekly, will read all student posts and respond accordingly. The instructor may also show videos as part of the lesson or even post a personal video message.
This will be the format to follow the entire semester. Remember, you will ALWAYS have access to your instructor either in the classroom or via email. YOU ARE NEVER ALONE during this course. You can't raise your hand as you would in a traditional classrooom, but you can post questions and concerns through the forums available in the course.
Your instructor is there to help you stay on task by posting weekly deadlines. A textbook is needed for most classes and assignments are due. The instructor will grade assignments and post them in the "gradebook", located within your course, where you can them view at any time.
Taking classes online can be challenging if you do not feel comfortable with working independently or if you are not computer literate. However, if you are, this is a great alternative to traditional learning. What you must remember, however, is that the instructor expects you to work just as hard as you would sitting in a face-to-face classroom.