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Being an Online Student

Online Classes Come to You

You Can Study Anytime, Anywhere!

In many ways, taking and online course is like taking a face-to-face course. Both feature individual assignments and cooperative group projects, and both require you to take exams to show you are learning the course material. The instructor directs students through the activities, posting announcements, delivering lecture materials, responding to questions, and grading assignments and exams.

The great benefit of being in an online course is that you can have direct, one-to-one communication with your instructor and fellow students at any time, rather than only during class or office hours.

Level Of Participation

One of the greatest benefits of online learning is the multitude of ways to participate. At Leighton, we define participation as a reference to the ways students are engaged in the learning process; this includes just about everything you do for a class. However, it excludes “busy work!"

“A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books."
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Busy work put aside . . .

You will be asked to spend more time generating and participating in discussions with the instructor and the other students.
You must be responsible for keeping up with the workload so that you can be an active participant in online discussions.
You will be asked to spend more time generating and participating in discussions with the instructor and the other students.
If you are assigned to participate in team projects, your team members will rely on you to participate and contribute to the projects.

Unlike the situation in most face-to-face courses, where you can show up for class, listen to lectures, and perhaps not play an active role in the discussion, the assignments in online courses require your participation. If you do not keep up with reading and other homework, you will not be able to contribute meaningful, timely comments to the online discussions. Avoid this predicament by setting aside specific times each week for engaging in course participation activities, and stick to them.

You may find yourself quickly falling behind in reading messages to which you need to respond. Flexibility is built into online courses. You can log on when it is convenient for you, but there are some things to consider:

You will have deadlines and due dates, even though your classes are asynchronous (students are not online at the same time, as in a face-to-face course.
You are responsible for getting assigned reading materials.
You will need to add to discussions and reply to other students’ comments
You will need to hand in individual assignments on time.

Your presence in the course will be apparent only if you add to discussions and do the online assignments. Also, as stated above, it is crucial that you keep up to date by reading all lecture materials and posted comments before participating in the online discussions.

A good rule of thumb is to log on at least once a day to check announcements and review online materials. How long you need to be online depends on the activities for that session.

Look at the calendar to see when certain assignments are due and when projects begin and end. Different courses may offer very explicit schedules that tell you when you need to be online for different assignments. For example, you may have a class discussion for which you will need to submit an initial comment on a Monday and then respond to another student’s comment on Wednesday. Requirements of this kind will be spelled out in the respective assignment or discussion.