Online Learning Guide
This information provides you with the opportunity to assess your readiness for online learning with the Open Training College and introduces you to the Open Training College’s E Learning Team who can talk to you about any fears or concerns you may have in relation to online learning.
The Open Training College provides flexible and accessible learning opportunities to people working in human services. The innovative, award winning model developed over the past 20 years by the College allows people who work, to study at the same time. The model, while mostly blended (a mixture of classroom and online and other learning supports) over the past 10 years in line with best practice has become more dependent on online learning – learning on a computer.
Unlike other colleges where you attend a physical location and study with your peers, the Open Training College provides an online virtual learning environment which allows you to study, access numerous learning resources and supports, and communicate with the College and other students.
Becoming a successful online student takes time and practice. With each new assignment and course you will develop your skills and enhance your learning characteristics. Our research has shown this trend. But the question is does online learning suit you, something you should be clear about from the start of your engagement with the College.
To evaluate your readiness for online learning, you need to ask yourself questions in each of the following areas:
Comfort Levels with Computers (Technical Consideration)
- Can you run and utilize basic applications, programs, and/or software on a computer (e.g. word processing programs, internet browsers, email)? Yes / No
- Can you create, save and manage files on your computer? Yes / No
- Do you know how to install software on your computer if needed? Yes / No
Internet Access (Technical consideration)
- Can you regularly access the Internet and email? Yes / No
- If you do not have your own computer, can you gain access to a computer multiple times a week? Yes / No
Internet Skills (Technical consideration)
- Do you currently have an email address? Yes / No
- Do you know how to send and receive email messages? Yes / No
- Do you know how to attach a file to an email message? Yes / No
- Do you know how to “copy” and “paste” text from a word processor into an email message? Yes / No
- Do you know how to open a file attachment from an incoming email message? Yes / No
- Do you have multimedia capabilities on the computer system you will be using (i.e. speakers, camera, adobe flash player, etc.)? Yes / No
- Have you worked on Google Drive, creating and sharing documents? Yes / No
- Have you dealt with problems online, discussing solutions with any online support? Yes / No
Learning Style Considerations
- Do you stay on task without direct supervision, or do you work best when someone is there to help keep you focused?
- Can you prioritize your own workload, or do you tend to put tasks off for later?
- Do you learn best from reading text and assignments on your own, or do you learn best from spoken or visual presentations with student interaction?
- Do you enjoy learning new computer or technology skills, or does the thought of having to learn new computer or technology skills cause you anxiety?
- Do you usually understand written instructions, or does having instructions explained make a big difference for you?
- Are you planning to allocate as much time in your schedule for your online course as you would for a more “traditional’ classroom course (because the workload and time commitment will be the same!)?
- Are you good at assessing your own progress, or do you need instructor feedback right away?
How to Assess Your Answers
If you answered “No” to any of the Technical Consideration questions above, you may want to talk to our E learning team about taking a course online. At the very least, you will have some technology to learn in addition to the curriculum of the course(s) you take, and you should make extra time in your schedule accordingly. All of the skills mentioned above are used in most of our online courses. Technical support is available throughout the academic year; however, in most cases you will be expected to already know how to use the Internet and the tools referenced above.
In the Learning Style Consideration questions, being able to answer the questions affirmatively is a good indicator that you are well suited to the online classroom environment. If your answers lean more toward the second statement in each sentence, then you may find the online learning environment less satisfying. Most of our online courses make use of class discussion forums which allow interaction between students and instructors as well as between students. However, email based interaction can be less satisfying than face-to-face communication for some learners.
Online courses require you to structure your own schedule. You will need to balance your time around the assignments/requirements of the class. Without the need to show up in a particular place at a designated time each week, some learners find it all too easy to put work off until the last minute. Much of the material covered in a typical online class will require you to learn from reading. This may include textbooks, Internet-based materials and written “lectures” or notes from your instructor. http://ensu.nsula.edu/are-you-ready-for-online-learning/
If after the evaluation above, you are unsure about your suitability for online learning, you can contact the Elearning team at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us 01 2988544 to discuss your fears and concerns. The College provides an elearning support team that will work with you to try and resolve any technical issues you may have, all the way through your studies, from beginning to end.
It is worth noting, that as part of your application process, you will be supported to complete an online induction course that will provide you with support and resources to work your way through all the requirements of being a student online at the Open Training College. In 2014, the after course evaluation for the online induction course survey showed that 100% of participants said that the online induction course had made them more confident around the online skill requirements required for the Open Training College.
It is important when applying for any course to understand what to expect and where you need to focus your energy before you start. What can you do now to continue to prepare yourself for success in the Open Training College’s online environment?