What to Expect in an Online Distance Education Course at SCC

This brief presentation has been designed to help you understand what to expect as a student in an online or distance education course at Sacramento City College.Expect to learn the same material that you would in a full-time face-to-face class. Expect to receive a full syllabus at the start of the class that includes any orientation, quiz, exam, and assignment due dates Expect to have clear instructions for each phase of the course: what to read, what to do, what to turn in and how to submit it. Expect to spend on average 6 hours per week per course unit.

Just because classroom time is greatly reduced, it does not mean that learning time is similarly reduced. It will generally increase depending on your reading and writing skills. Expect to have assistance from your instructor. Distance Learning does not mean that you are on your own. Your instructor is available to assist and guide you in your learning and answer your questions throughout the course. Expect to receive information and feedback from your instructor weekly If you feel you are not getting enough assistance, contact your instructor – good communication is the key to a successful distance eduation experience. If you still feel that you need more help, contact the Tutoring Center, Distance Education office or one of the campus computer labs.

Distance education courses are exactly the same as face-to-face courses in quality, objectives, credits and learning outcomes. They use a different methodology by using the Internet, instead of or in addition to a classroom. Distance education courses are Student Centered rather than Teacher Centered, so you will not sit and listen to lectures and generally will not be required to log into your course at any specific time. Your teacher is a facilitator and will assist you in learning the material required; explain details clearly in writing; provide you with information links, CD Roms and web materials and references; answer all email questions usually within 24 hours; correct all required work, papers, projects and quizzes in a reasonable time; and post your grade in your grade book on a regular basis. You must be an active learner not passively waiting for your teacher to remind you to do your homework, checking on your progress every day and telling you what you are missing each week. A successful online student will take the responsibility for his or her own learning: completing work on time; emailing the instructor for assistance; keeping the instructor informed of any personal issues and learning assistance you need; communicating with other students in the class; keeping up with readings, case studies and web links; logging into the course daily for updates, emails and information concerning the course; and completing the course on time.

Expect to be graded on the value, content and timeliness of your work – not on other issues such as number of emails and questions, class dominance, or past course performance. You can expect your teacher to give you as much of an opportunity to improve throughout your course, but all work must be completed by the timeline on the syllabus. You will find that you learn more than you expected in these courses.

By being an active learner, you will remember more of the course and feel more of an accomplishment upon completion. Expect a distance education course to take you more time and energy than a traditional face-to-face course, but the results are often that you learn more, too! Students are often surprised to find that they feel they get to know their teachers and classmates better online than in a classroom, due to the number of emails and contacts, more active class discussions and interactions online than in a traditional classroom setting.

(Shy students often comment that they participate more online than in any previous college classroom courses) You will learn more than the content of the course: expect to learn how to do research online, how to utilize and experience new web sites, how to use more computer applications (such as NetMeetings, Adobe Acrobat, file attachments, voice-streaming, PowerPoint(R) presentations, etc), utilize new search engines and, most importantly, how to express yourself better in writing. If you still have questions about taking an online or distance education course, feel free to contact the Distance Education office for assistance.