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Last Update: January 25, 2012

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So, you think you want to take an online class?

Hello student: If you are reading this, you must be thinking about taking an online class here at Tidewater Community College (TCC). I would like to talk to you about this and offer you some thoughts for your consideration.

Some of you may be thinking that you want to take an online class because your life is really busy and you would appreciate not having to drive to school, find a parking place, sit thorough a boring (not mine of course!) class, go back to your car and go home. By taking an online class, you will definitely save an hour or two of driving, but you still need to attend class on a regular basis. Those of you who think you work well under pressure have a vision that you can do all the work in the last week or so. You can't. My class and most others require that you check in with the class on Blackboard at least once a week.

Online classes are not an oversimplified class which does not require you to do less work than a face to face class. My online class requires exactly the same amount of work and papers as my on campus version. The top reason for problems was that people didn't have enough time-family, work or other classes kept the student from keeping up. Once the students got behind, they were unable to catch up-in other words, you cannot go on vacation for three weeks and expect to do everything when you get back.

These are the top reasons for failing/dropping the class:

If you think you might be interested then let's look at the other points. Do you work well without anyone looking over your shoulder? Some people find they need the motivation that comes from going to class to keep up. You might want to visit one of these 2 sites to take a quiz to see if you look like a good candidate: http://www.mmlab2.rlc.dcccd.edu/syllabi/onlineCourseAccess/selfassess.htm

Technology is an important point to consider. Do you have a good computer, we do not provide you with a computer at home, and a good connection to the Internet? Please visit this site to see what is needed on your computer and what basic computer skills you will need. http://www.tcc.edu/students/DTLS/students/n_skills.htm#hardware Keep in mind that your teacher is teaching their subject and not computers. Please confirm to your instructor that you meet these requirements.

If you feel that you have met the basic requirements, here is what you will need to do before you register. Our classes here at TCC are given through the Blackboard (BB) system. You will need to log into TCC's web site (http://www.tcc.edu). You can log into myTCC to get to Blackboard and your email usually within 72 hours of registration. Your BB class should be available at least a week before class begins. If you are new to the system, go to https://tcc.my.vccs.edu/jsp/vccsidLookup.jsp to get your login name and password. Use the following link to find more information about Blackboard: http://www.tcc.edu/students/DTLS/blackbrd/index.htm This includes a link to our Technical help.

Once you have registered, be sure you have visited my web site and the following: http://www.tcc.edu/students/DTLS/students/firstep.htm ; please read #6 carefully and email me or your instructor. The Virginia Community College System does require that you must meet on campus at least twice during the semester. I always meet with my students the first Saturday after classes begin at the Virginia Beach Building. This meeting provides us with an opportunity to get to know one another and to make sure everyone understands how the class will happen. Help service.

During the course of the semester, if you need me, we can do online office hours through our BB site, virtual office, or we can arrange to meet in my actual office.

To avoid failure and inefficacious pedagogy in Web-based environments, potential students should respond formally to a set of criteria. Chapter One offered a review on characteristics of distance education students. This criterion may include a survey instrument developed by each institution and distributed before admission to a Web-based program or course; this survey may include such questions as:

Richland College Multimedia
Online Course Self-Assessment

To assess your chances for success in Distance Learning courses please answer the following questions honestly:

  1. Feeling like I am part of the class is:
    1. not important to me
    2. somewhat important to me.
    3. very important to me.
  2. I would classify myself as a student who:
    1. often gets assignments done ahead of time.
    2. needs reminding to get assignments done.
    3. puts assignments off until the last minute.
  3. Classroom discussions are:
    1. rarely helpful to me.
    2. sometimes helpful to me.
    3. almost always helpful to me.
  4. When an instructor hands out instructions for an assignment, I prefer:
    1. figuring out the instructions on my own.
    2. trying to follow directions on my own, then asking for help as needed.
    3. asking the instructor to explain the directions as they are being distributed
  5. I need faculty comments on my assignments:
    1. within a few weeks, so I can review what I did.
    2. within a few days, or I forget what I did.
    3. right away, or I get very anxious.
  6. Considering my professional and personal schedule, the amount of time I can devote to coursework is:
    1. 7 - 9 hours a week.
    2. 4 - 6 hours a week.
    3. 1 - 3 hours a week.
  7. Whenever I am asked to use VCR's, computers, voice mail or other forms of technology new to me:
    1. I look forward to learning new skills.
    2. I feel apprehensive, but will try anyway.
    3. I put it off or try to avoid it entirely.
  8. As a reader:
    1. I usually understand text without help.
    2. sometimes require help to understand the text.
    3. I almost always require help understanding a college text.

Self-Score:

  • If you selected mostly "a" answers, you are a prime candidate for online classes.
  • If you selected mostly "b" answers, you may find some aspects of an online class challenging.
  • If you selected mostly "c" answers, you would probably find online courses challenging and your educational needs better served attending face-to-face classes.

TCC getting started

http://www.tcc.edu/students/DTLS/

Getting online

http://www.tcc.edu/students/DTLS/students/firstep.htm

FAQs

http://www.tcc.edu/students/DTLS/help.htm