Words to the Wise about Online Classes this Spring!

Taking your first-ever online class? Well, even if you are not, here are five tips EVERY online student should heed this spring:

1.   Communicate clearly via email with a proper subject line.  Identify yourself by name and by the course and section number in which you are a student.  Also, include a brief descriptor in the subject line, like “Exam 4 question.”  Then, in the body of the email, carefully describe your question or issue.  By providing additional details, your instructor (as well as tech support) can more quickly respond to your inquiry.

2.  Participate! It’s vital to your success.  Some of the key reasons for this include attendance and grading.  Your “appearance” in the course needs to be complemented by interaction and engagement in order to validate your attendance.  You may even lose points for not being attentive in your courses.  Be involved, and contribute to your online learning experience!

3.  Beware of the browser that you use and the version of the browser that you have.  The Cobra Learning home page has a “system check” link for you to confirm that your web browser (and other components) is compatible with the system.  The most recent versions of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome for PC and Safari for Mac users are recommended for optimum performance.

4. Learn how to use discussion boards and how to post correctly in discussion topics.  For many online courses, the discussion boards are the very heart and soul of the online class.  This is the place for thought exchange, reading reflections, and interactivity on the subject.  It is important to learn and master how the discussions work and how to post and reply correctly.  Seek assistance if you are unsure.

5.  Spellchecker does not always find spelling errors.  It does not, for example, alert you to words that sound alike, so “their” and “there” can fool a spellcheck program, but it won’t fool your instructor.  The preferred way to proofread is to have someone review your work for you to ensure that you have an error-free submission.

Check back for more tips on how to be a successful online student at Parkland College.

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