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What is a Good Working Environment for Taking Online Courses?

Online students are usually adults, who are either working or planning to join the workforce. They are self-motivated, disciplined individuals serious about the course they have enrolled in. A good study environment is essential for them to succeed, while maintaining the balance between home and family. Online educators design courses with this specific point in view and you will be surprised at the amount of planning that goes into creating an instruction style that will suit the learning style of different individuals to give them the perfect learning experience.

Can Traditional Instruction Strategies be Adapted To an Online Environment?
Unlike a physical classroom where the student depends on the instructor for data and information, the teacher in an online course plays the role of a collaborator who facilitates the learning process with the help of a curriculum designed to guide the student to work out a solution. Traditional teaching models are combined while designing online courses, to come out with the best fit for an online environment with its unique needs.

Which Are The Traditional Adult Learning Strategies Commonly Used?
Adapting to the different demands of online education, instructors and learners have shifted to a new teaching-learning environment, where students have become responsible enough to take control of the learning process. Educators customize various elements of adult learning, such as discussions, lectures, small group work, and collaborative work to create an environment of round the clock, across the world, joint study, aided by multimedia communication facilities.

How Can I Create My Own Working Environment?
As a motivated and disciplined learner, follow some simple tips:

  1. Create you own timeline; set your routine and schedule your coursework according to the study time available to you.
  2. Finish your assignments before time to avoid a last-minute rush; if required, set deadlines with buffer days.
  3. Communicate well; since you do not come face to face with your instructor and peer group, it is important to clarify things when in doubt and not assume.
  4. Think from the perspective of other participants in your group.
  5. Do not get impatient if things move a little slow; this is expected as you may be working in different time zones.
  6. Schedule all meetings, online conferences, submissions, and any other requirement with the same degree of seriousness as you would do if you were in a campus.
Do I Have The Correct Attitude To Adapt To The Requirements Of An Online Environment?
The online method, while a totally new approach, has its own way of fitting a particular student, just like a traditional method. It works very well for some, while not suiting others, as each individual has a different learning style. To create the most conducive working environment it is very important to participate in the online conferences that put you in touch with others who are taking the same course at the same time. Participate in such discussions; voice your ideas as well as listen to others. An online course, unlike one in a brick and mortar classroom, will not run on a schedule determined by your professor. So, make it a habit to log on to your discussion group, keep abreast of the issues, and do your coursework regularly. An online study group provides an anonymous environment; take advantage of it to overcome your shyness and come out with positive inputs. However, never ever make the mistake of taking this as a liberty to be impolite, as this will rob you off one of the most vital elements of success - a productive and supportive online environment. To find out if the online environment suits you is important before you invest the time and money to pursue a program.

If you answer 'yes' to most of the questions below, then you have a good working environment for online study:

  • Can you work independently?
  • Can you persist in asking questions till you are satisfied with the explanation?
  • Do you know how to use a computer?
  • Are you motivated to perform even in the absence of a physical class?
  • Can you adapt your schedules to your work and family needs?
  • Do you have the right home environment for studying at your pace and time?
  • Are your employer and family supportive of your decision?

How Different Is The Online Environment?
You should always keep in mind that online education is just another learning environment. It is different from classroom study in that it does not have conventional physical seminar rooms, classrooms, and laboratories. However, it still has all the basic elements - instructors, students, classes, conferences, assignments, and examinations, albeit online. So, the instructional methodologies remain similar to those of traditional schools. What becomes different or needs innovations is how the strategies are used to adapt to different needs in a different scenario. Please read Questions to Ask Schools for additional information regarding researching colleges to find an online program that is right for you.

Can I Evaluate Myself As A Potential Online Student?
To evaluate yourself as a potential student, log on to these sites:

Distance-Educator.com
Distance-Ed.edu


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