One of the newest trends in education training is online learning. We maintain friendships through emails and social media platforms such as Facebook, complete our banking online, and do our Christmas shopping online. Also, technology has made it possible for people to take short courses online.
Some years ago, this form of learning wasn’t widely accepted. However, when people realized its benefits such as flexibility, lower costs and access to expert resources, they accepted it, and many of them have even been using it to earn professional certificates.
Online learning is different from the traditional lecture hall/classroom learning, but different doesn’t equate to bad. It can be an excellent tool to delve further into a particular subject, especially for full-time professionals.
Hopefully, the information below will better inform people looking to take short courses online.
The Basics about Taking an Online Short Course
When taking these courses, you’ll be using a virtual platform like the Blackboard. On this platform, you can listen to lectures, take tests, retrieve handouts, and post on the discussion board.
Don’t worry about the platform being complicated; it’s user-friendly. People off all ages and even those with basic computer skills can complete these classes successfully.
What to expect from instructors
The instructors are experts in their respective fields and are enthusiastic about teaching the course. They are always looking to foster a good learning environment. You may notice some instructors have more experience when it comes to facilitating an online course, so be patient.
You should expect the instructors to be reachable via email, virtual chat sessions, or even the discussion board. Since face to face is eliminated, they should be available to answer any of your questions through these channels. In some online learning institutions, instructors may encourage board participation by making postings count as a part of the final grade.
Tips to Complete an Online Course Successfully
Set up a good learning space
In traditional classroom sessions, you would spend some time in the classroom studying and the other time outside classroom completing assignments. However, with online short courses, you spend your time outside a traditional classroom.
Therefore, it’s crucial that set up a classroom-like space where you’ll be doing your work. The area should be quiet, have a stable internet connection, free from distractions, and access to power. It should be a place where if you sit down, you know it’s time to learn seriously.
When setting up a suitable space, also know the various resources you need. Install any special software, tools, and technologies to ensure that you’re well-prepared.
Use the discussion board often
The discussion board is an excellent way and often the only way to know and interact with others taking the course.
Particularly if the course is one in a program series, you may encounter the same classmates. By frequently posting on the discussion board, you’ll learn more from others, and the instructor will know you beyond your assignments.
They will be able to help tackle the problems you’re facing so that learning can be easy. And as we mentioned earlier, participating in board discussions may count as part of the grade.
Always keep deadlines in mind
Online classes are often asynchronous, which means that tests, assignments, and lectures are available to the students at any time. The courses can be self-paced, and students can choose when to listen to lectures and complete their assignments.
Some instructors may choose to give weekly deadlines for their assignments, even though these assignments are given well ahead of time. Other instructors will choose a combination of deadlines and self-paced.
It depends on your course instructor, so it’s vital to know your quiz, test, and assignment deadlines. If there is anything unclear, you can email the instructor or ask through the discussion board.
Print out the syllabus and supplemental material
The virtual learning platform may contain information that will only be available for a short time. As you cover the course, download any crucial information into your computer as it will serve as a record of what you’ve completed in the class.
This way, you can always refer to this information if you find something unclear. Another thing you shouldn’t forget is typing your work in a word processing program.
Even after a class is over, you’ll still have some material to refer to. If you have posted something on the discussion board or chat sessions, I recommend typing it down.
In conclusion, these are some of the things you need to know when taking a short online. Hopefully, you’re now motivated to take a short course online on a subject you’ve always been curious about or to further your career.