Tag Archives: Lori Wendt

Three Good Reasons to Take an Online Course

Usually, when you see this headline, you expect to see reasons like “greater convenience” or “lower costs” or “a more comfortable learning environment.” And while all of these are true, here are three reasons to take an online course you might not have considered.

1. Technology education. Most, if not all students will be working with “others” sometime in their future careers. To be successful, the use of technology is very important. Taking online courses now at Parkland College helps prepare you to communicate with others using today’s technology, including virtual meetings and collaborations through email and social media devices. Business and management instructor Mark Kesler says he encourages all of his students to be comfortable in the online learning environment: “I highly recommend all my students take at least one online class before they leave Parkland.”

2. Cultural diversity. Students all around the world take Parkland’s online courses. By enrolling in an online course, you get the chance to meet students from other countries. Students benefit mutually from learning about each others’ cultures and educational and life experiences. Often, you can get a “study abroad” experience without leaving the comfort of your own home.

3. Career skill-building. Taking an online class requires discipline, punctuality, and self-motivation, all excellent skills to have in the workforce. Online courses create a solid foundation that prepares you for your next step, whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution or starting your career.

So, while online courses are recommended for their quality instruction, transferability, and affordability, they offer so much more than just that for students. Online courses can provide a broad experience that shapes the future of your employment and life goals.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead, sign up for an online class today!

[Lori Wendt is the learning management system specialist for the Professional Development and Instructional Technology department at Parkland College.]

***Parkland celebrates National Distance Learning Week, Nov. 7-11.***

Knowledge Base: DIY Online Technical Support

It’s no surprise that Parkland students take online classes for the convenience they offer: Students can work during the day and take their classes at night—at home, in their pajamas. However, taking classes this way can create an issue when students run into problems of a technical nature and all of the help desks are closed.

That is why Parkland now offers a unified support desk and a 24/7 DIY (do-it-yourself) knowledge-base that is full of articles to help students with simple technical issues. Here are some ways you can use the knowledge base:

Example 1: Say you forgot your password. You can go to http://kb.parkland.edu and type “forgot password” into the search bar (see below) and click Search.

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You’ll find that the results link you to an article titled Resetting your ParklandOne password. Click the article link, and you’ll get a step-by-step guide, including visuals, that walks you through the process.

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The nice thing about the ParklandOne program is that when you forget the password, the reset will be good for all Parkland systems (Wi-Fi, student email, and my.Parkland; Cobra Learning will be added to this list in December 2015).

You can also search for Cobra Learning assistance as well. The search engine for the knowledge-base will search WITHIN the article as well…so even if you don’t know the exact terminology of the issue, you should be able to get a smaller number of articles from which to choose to get a resolution.

Example 2: Say you lost your Internet connection while taking a timed quiz in Cobra Learning! If you go to the knowledge-base search and type in “lost Internet connection”, it will give you a link to an article titled Cobra Learning – Tips for Taking Quizzes (see below).

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In this article, you can find steps on how to try to regain entry into a quiz after losing Internet connection or if your browser freezes up, as well as other recommended tips for taking quizzes in Cobra Learning.

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So, while we can’t offer you 24/7 tech support, we can offer you the next best thing: a knowledge-base with articles written specifically for Parkland users and arranged in a way that is easy to search and locate the assistance you need when you need it.

We are always open to requests for additional article topics, so if you can’t find your answer, let us know, and we’ll work to create one and add it for future reference.

 

[Lori Wendt is the online support specialist for the Professional Development and Instructional Technology department at Parkland.]

 

Three Key Reasons to Take Online Courses at Parkland!

Parkland College has offered online/distance learning for a long time and, for many reasons, we are still one of the top schools in the state of Illinois for online instruction.
Reason #3 – Quality: Online courses at Parkland are taught by the same instructors who teach in our classrooms.  And many of them have undergone additional training to help them to become effective and efficient online instructors.  So, we can proudly say that we have quality instruction happening at Parkland College, regardless of the method of delivery.
Reason #2 – Transferability:  Our online courses meet all of the same criteria for our classroom courses and are, therefore, accredited and accepted at most transfer institutions.  As always, we defer to the transfer institution for how they will accept the credits to be applied to a baccalaureate degree, but our courses are fully compliant with the Illinois Articulation Initiative and undergo regular review for continued compliance to ensure the quality of our courses.
And Reason #1 (And probably the most important reason) – Affordability:  It’s been said that you can expect to pay the same for an online degree as you would for one at a “brick and mortar” institution.  And for in-district students at Parkland, that is true.  Our online course rates for in-district students is the same as for the classroom instruction.  So, that makes Parkland an easy choice for getting your degree in a timely fashion—no worrying about conflicting class schedules.  Just take the online version and work at times that are convenient for you.
But wait… it gets better!  Out-of-district and international students pay substantially more per credit hour for classroom instruction.  However, Parkland is able to offer the online courses at a much more affordable rate than the classroom version.  For out-of-district students, the cost is $192.50 per credit hour; for international students the rate is $282.50 per credit hour.  Even at these rates, Parkland is the smart choice compared to other online institutions.

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Further good news with the affordability of online courses is that they are fully eligible for federal financial aid.
So, make your money go further this summer and take your courses from anywhere in the world.  Parkland College will go with you and ensure you are getting quality, transferable courses at the best possible price.
Get started by choosing the link on this page that best describes your situation.  If you have any questions, please contact admission@parkland.edu.  See you online!

R Factors: Instructor Tips for Online Students

Finish your online class in strong fashion by reflecting on four “R factors” your online instructors want you to remember:

Research:  Do not consider the Internet as the only research tool for your online course assignments. Most libraries, like Parkland’s, have online resources available, including live chats with real librarians during library hours! Do not rely on sites like Wikipedia or About.com unless your instructor has indicated that those are viable options for your assignment. Always ask about a site of which you are unsure.

Report Formats:  You may be required to submit your written assignments in a specific document format. Likewise, your preferred document format (.wps, .odt or .pages) may not be viewable by your instructor. So, pay attention to detail about the types of documents they are willing to accept, and if possible, send a test document to them PRIOR to the assignment due date to ensure that they can open and read your file.

Review (Tests):  Some courses may require you to do some exams via proctor, meaning that you will need to be monitored during the exam. Parkland has testing centers on campus for students in online courses who need to take a proctored test. Note: Distant students must work with the instructor to make arrangements for taking proctored exams at a different location.

Replies: Your online instructor may not reply immediately to your question or comment. Most online instructors do their best to reply to email within 24-48 hours. For grading of discussions and assignments, they may take up to a week after the due date before finalizing grades. Continue working on assignments while you await their response, and rest assured that they will respond to your request.

 

 

Three Myths about Online Learning

Don’t believe everything you hear, especially when it comes to taking college classes online. For example:

1.  Online classes are easier than classroom versions.  False!  Parkland’s online courses are interactive, engaging, and require attentiveness on the part of the student.  Not only will you have required assignments and activities in the online environment, but you’ll also have offline readings as well.

2.  Online learning is just a bunch of emails back and forth.  False!  The software programs available to online learning providers, like Parkland, allow students to see, hear, and respond to instructors.  Many courses include discussions, readings, and video activities, in addition to tests and assignments.  Most students in online classes report as much or more interaction and engagement as in a campus-based classroom.

3.  Online classes aren’t as effective as their classroom counterparts.  Again, false!  Online classes at Parkland are part of the regular academic departments and are taught by the same instructors who teach in the classroom.  Many offer the same exam schedule and cover the exact same material in the online version as in the classroom.

Parkland College prides itself on being one of the leaders in distance learning in the state of Illinois, so you can be confident that your online education will be a valuable experience!