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Is Online Education Right for Me?

 

You should be confident about your computer and study skills. Review the following list of requirements to assess your readiness to take online classes.

  • I know how to connect to the Internet using a browser.
  • I can navigate around the internet and know how to use search engines.
  • I know how to send and receive e-mail.
  • I know how to do basic word processing, including cutting and pasting.
  • I know how to open, save, and manage files.
  • I have access to a computer with an internet connection at least 3 days a week.
  • The computer I will use meets the basic system requirements for taking WCJC online classes.
  • I have 6-9 hours a week to work on each online class.
  • I am motivated to log in to the virtual classroom at least 3 days a week.
  • I am a self-starter and can manage my course workload efficiently.
  • I have good reading comprehension and written communication skills.
  • I am able to ask for help when I need it.

If you can't answer "Yes" to all these questions, you may not be quite ready for online learning. Take our Distance Education Online Learning  Assessment  to learn more about whether online learning is for you.

 

Netiquette

What is Netiquette?  It concerns how you conduct yourself while on the Internet.  Online courses are based on the premise that students learn best in a community. However, some things don't change- the practices of courtesy and respect that apply in the ordinary classroom also apply online, and require even more attention. In the online classroom the instructor plays an important role, but this is a different role than most instructors play in the physical classroom. You'll see a shift in the way classes work. However, some things don't change: the practices of courtesy and respect that apply in the ordinary classroom also apply online, and require even more attention. Here are some guidelines*:

Participate. In the online environment, it's not enough to show up! We need to hear your voice to feel your presence, and we especially need your comments to add to the information, the shared learning, and the sense of community in each class.

Be persistent. Remember that we're all working in a fairly new environment. If you run into any difficulties, don't wait! Send an email immediately to your instructor, email the online help desk, or post on the Bulletin Board. Most problems are easily solved, but we have to hear from you before we can help.

Share tips, help, and questions. For many of us, taking online courses is a new frontier. There are no dumb questions, and even if you think your solution is obvious, please share it by posting it on the Bulletin Board or other communication tool.

Think before you push the "Send" button. Did you say just what you meant? How will the person on the other end read the words? While you can't anticipate all reactions, do read over what you've written before you send it.

Be Clear! Remember that we can't see the grin on your face when you make a sarcastic comment, we can't see the concern on your face if you only say a couple of words, and we can't read your mind and fill in the gaps if you abbreviate your comments. So help us "see" you by explaining your ideas fully.

Ask for feedback! If you're not sure how your ideas and comments will be taken, ask! Remember there's a person on the other side. If you disagree with what someone has said, practice all your communication skills as you express that disagreement.

Don't be inappropriate. "Flaming," or flying off the handle and ranting at someone else is unacceptable; it's the equivalent of having a tantrum, something most of us wouldn't do in an onsite, face to face classroom. Any derogatory or inappropriate comments regarding race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, are unacceptable and subject to the same disciplinary action that they would receive if they occurred in the physical classroom. If you have concerns about something that has been said, please let your instructor know.

Be Honest. Plagiarism, cheating and other violations of ethical student behavior are serious actions in a learning community. See the WCJC Student Handbook for information on Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism.

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