ONLINE LEARNING: Is an OnLine Course Right for You?
If you plan to enroll in an online course at Daytona State College, you need to know what online classes are really like so you can decide what is best for you. To that end, we offer this effort to identify some faulty assumptions and counter with the reality. So here's the real deal:
- Assumption #1: You don't need your own computer to take online classes because the College offers plenty of access to computers.
The Reality: While this is technically true, most students need their own, easy and convenient, computer access in order to succeed in an online course. In fact, don’t even sign up for an online course unless you feel very comfortable working online and you have easy access to a computer.
- Since you will complete all work online, you have to know how to email and how to use WORD before you even start the course. You will need to learn how to use Falcon Online during the first week of class.
- College computers are not available 24/7, and you will need to use a computer almost every day to pass a class
- Assumption #2: Online classes are just easier. You don’t even have to go to campus. You just do the work on your own, and you earn the same credit. If you’re too busy to meet face-to-face classes, taking courses online offers you an easier path to college success.
The Reality: You do have more flexibility with an online course, but online classes are just as rigorous, just as demanding as face-to-face classes. Sometimes they are even more demanding. Online students work on their own, so they must take more responsibility for keeping up and meeting deadlines. If you are academically prepared and well-motivated, you may do fine in the online environment. However, if the course may be a stretch for you, the face-to-face class may be your better choice.
- Assumption #3: Your instructors will be available day and night for your convenience, so you can expect an almost immediate response to your questions and comments.
The Reality: Your online instructors, just like you, have lives of their own. They do not live at their computers 24/7 waiting for you to need them. You should expect a response to arrive within a reasonable (24-36 hours) period of time. Give a little longer on weekends.
- Assumption #4: In an online course, you can complete the work at your own convenience and submit your quizzes, homework and essays when you wish.
The Reality: While online students do not go to class, they still have specific assignments and real deadlines. These are not self-paced courses that allow you to submit your work whenever you choose. Your instructor will assign work and set real deadlines for you to meet -- and real penalties are attached if you fail to meet them. In fact, during your first week of class, you will be given an assignment to complete, and if you do not complete it, you could be dropped from the class.
- Assumption #5: Online instructors can assist students with IT computer issues.
The Reality: Online faculty are chosen because they are experts in their subject areas. They are not computer technology experts, so do not expect them to provide tech support for your individual computer problems. Call the Falcon OnLine support line for those questions.
- Assumption #6: When you communicate online, whether in discussions, emails, quizzes or papers, you can write informally, as you would to your friends when you send texts and e-mail.
The Reality: Your instructors expect you to use language that is correct and appropriate in anything you write. You are always expected to check spelling, use correct punctuation, and properly cite your sources. So please leave the text message abbreviations on your phone.
- Assumption #7: Online instructors are not as well qualified as those who teach the face-to-face classes.
The Reality: Only faculty who are fully accredited by the college and have taken courses on how to teach online may teach a fully online college class. Many of our most highly qualified instructors teach online courses.
- Assumption #8: Your circumstances are unique, so your instructor needs to be flexible with assignments and deadlines.
The Reality: Every student at Daytona State College is unique. You all have lives beyond school, obligations to family and/or to work. Nevertheless, you must plan to conform to all of the expectations your instructor lays out in the course syllabus. Just like the students in face-to-face classes, you will have assignments to complete and deadlines to meet. If you cannot meet those expectations, you should not take that course.