What Makes a Good eLearning Student?


The eLearner

In any eLearning program, the capacity for self-directed learning is crucial.   To stay up to date with their coures, eLearning students must check the class website at least once per day during the week.  Checking in on the weekend is a good idea too  Because eLearning courses reuqire a lot of independent study, they may not be suitable for all students. 

The eLearning student must take responsibility for her/his own learning.  While the professor and fellow students can provide some support, the eLearner is expected to provide the internal motivation to manage his/her own learning during the course of study and have a basic grasp of Internet navigation skills. The elearner is also expected to take responsibility for contacting the professor with his/her questions.

eLearning students should have scores higher than the lowest qualifying scores for English and Mathematics courses. If your score on the COMPASS test is not five points or more above the qualifying minimum for transfer classes, you may have trouble in the eLearning course equivalent.

eLearning courses are very focused. If you need extra help learning the material, you may have to get the information on your own or at least take responsibility for asking the professor for assistance. eLearning courses also tend to be harder than or require more total time than traditional courses.

Successful eLearning students are generally highly motivated, self-starting people. Many are home bound because of children or disabilities or just prefer to take classes at home. Others are place bound. They might be in the military stationed away from home, or fishing in the Gulf of Alaska. Some are job bound. They may have rotating and unusual shifts, like some industrial workers or fire fighters. Others are just trying to get more of that precious commodity--time! Perhaps the greatest advantage stated by people taking an eLearning course is that it allows them to manage their own time to meet their needs within the confines of the class due dates.

Required Skills

To be successful in an eLearning course you will need to know how to:

  1. Be an indepdent learner
  2. Use the Internet
  3. Use a search engine
  4. Set up your computer and broswer to be compatible with Canvas or the software used for your class
  5. Use a word processor.  (Some classes may require the use of other software.  Check with your professor)
  6. Send and receive email
  7. Send an email with an attachment
  8. Use a PC, Mac, or mobile device
  9. Copy and paste from one document to another
  10. Take a timed test
  11. Use a discussion forum
  12. Use a chat room
  13. Skills 10-12 are not required in all courses.

Sometimes students feel they can learn technical skills while taking an online course. In this case they are trying to learn two different sets of skills-- the skill-set for the course they are enrolled in and one on how to use the technology -- only one of them is taught by the professor. If you do not have these skills you should consider not enrolling in an online course.

To be successful in a Telecourse you will need to know how to operate a TV and VCR and have both available to you.

Back-up Plan

Students are encouraged to have a back-up plan in case their primary computer malfunctions; they experience other technical difficulties such as an interruption in internet service or a power outage; or they travel during the quarter. They should be aware of another computer they can use that is convenient to their location. For example, one might be able to use a friend's, neighbor's, or relative's computer; one in the public library; one in the campus labs; or in a public place with wireless internet access. Students are expected to follow the back-up plan when necessary so that they may continue their coursework. In most cases, having problems with your computer, home power, or internet connection will not exempt you from class deadlines.  Deadline extensions are not often granted. This type of critical thinking on the student's part is a necessary skill in dealing with technology in all facets of life today.