Ever wondered what it would be like to be taking college courses online? This entry will give you a flavor of how online classes are conducted and what you as the student have to do to be successful. The course I am taking is a human-computer interaction course for my Master's in Computer Education.
I login to WebCT, my schools online course software, to pick up my weekly email from the course's instructor. She details the assignments we need to complete this week, discussions to post, and includes a review for an upcoming test. While the list of assignments due this week is available in the syllabus on WebCT, I appreciate having this weekly reminder of what I need to complete this week.
I notice that new grades have been posted on some of the prior assignments I have already turned in. I am pleased with the result and note comments that she has made for future reference.
Today, I pulled open the book and read the assigned chapter. I used sticky notes to mark important sections that I might need for a test later. Some people prefer to mark in the book directly with highlighters, but I prefer stickies. There is also a Powerpoint presentation with 30 slides.
There is a video I need to watch. It is available online or I can pull it off the cd the professor provided at the beginning of the course. Since I have a high-bandwidth connection, I download and stream it directly from WebCT.
Thursday thru Saturday
These days I tend to work on my other course or not at all. As a consummate procrastinator, I tend to put the written assignments off until Sunday, or Saturday if they are extensive. I do read the assignments on Monday so that I can at least be thinking about them as I drive to and from work or have other down time.
I prepare my written assignment(s). Then I go into WebCT into the appropriate assignment and upload the Word document with the professor's naming convention. After the upload, the assignment is marked submitted and I receive a confirmation email that I was successful.
My final duty is to prepare an answer to a "discussion question of the week" in the WebCT bulletin board for this course. I scan through the prior postings and reply to an interesting one. Finally, I post my answer to the question and submit it. I review the schedule for next week to prepare myself for the following week. Another week complete.
I have taken a number of course from UNT through WebCT and others through other systems that the University provides. The University is only 30 miles away so I take face-to-face classes as well, because I really like the interaction of a class. I like both methodologies. You may prefer one or the other, you won't know till you try.