Is Online Learning Right for Me?
Online learning is an increasingly popular method for students to take the courses they need when they need them. With Southeastern Technical College’s online courses, you may learn entirely online, using your computer’s Internet access. STC utilizes the Blackboard learning management system for all of its online courses. Blackboard is the comprehensive and flexible e-learning platform developed for educators to enhance their teaching and learning environments through the use of the Internet. All STC online courses do require at least one proctored event and some may require you attend an orientation session at the beginning of the term. Keep this in mind if you sign up for an online course.
Consider the following to determine if online learning is right for you.
First of all, understand that online classes are different than traditional classroom experiences in a number of ways:
- The way the information is presented: Rather than in-class lectures and discussions, the course content is presented through web pages, audio/video presentations, computer assisted learning, and many other methods.
- The ways you will interact with your instructor and other class members: Since you will seldom meet face-to-face, you will interact through communication tools provided for your class. These include your STC student email/Owl Mail account, Course Messages, discussion forums, and other communication tools included within Blackboard.
- The total learning experience: While you will cover the course competencies in the same amount of time as students in a traditional classroom setting, you may find that the learning experience is less structured. In other words, you may spend less time with your instructor and fellow class members and more time learning on your own. However, you can be sure that your learning experience will be no less demanding; you'll have to be disciplined and motivated to get the most out of your online learning experience.
People who learn effectively in an online setting are:
- Self-motivated and willing to accept responsibility for their own learning,
- Organized and able to follow directions independently,
- Self-disciplined, able to budget their time effectively and willing to stick to deadlines,
- Comfortable with technology, especially web-based and Internet technologies,
- Willing to accept the challenge of being an independent learner,
- Willing to take the initiative and contact their instructor when they have questions or concerns,
- Able to effectively communicate in writing, and
- Aware that online courses are of the same rigor and breadth as traditional courses.
Finally, it is important to recognize that STC’s online courses give you the ability to work on your school work at the time of day which fits your schedule; however, the courses are not self-paced. You will follow strict deadlines for assignments and your tests will be administered during a “window” of time. Failure to meet deadlines and complete assessments is a sure way to not perform well in the online setting.