Top Ten Myths about Online Learning
Myth #1 – You can participate anytime, anywhere.
Fact: While you will get to participate in the online courses at the time of day or night that is most convenient for you, you will still have specific deadlines for submitting work, participating in course discussions and taking exams. This is to promote class interaction. Deadlines and due dates are what help to keep you and the class progressing through the course at a reasonable rate. Also, many classes require proctored exams which have to be taken in a specified timeframe. Proctored exams are usually taken in the Testing Center on the Northwest Campus, but some instructors allow online options for an additional fee.
Myth #2 – Online courses are easy credits.
Fact: Online courses include a lot of reading, and often require you do some research on your own. That means online courses can actually take more time than a traditional course. Many students find that an online course takes between seven and 10 hours per week. You need to go into an online course knowing that the course will require as much, or more, time and effort as any traditional course.
Myth #3 – You can cram your work into one session a week.
Fact: Most online courses require you to log on several times a week to ensure active participation and maximum learning. It is very difficult to take in all the material and complete the week’s requirements in one sitting. And, because the nature of the course means you may never see your classmates, it is important to maintain contact by logging in several times a week.
Myth #4 – You can start your online course at any time.
Fact: All online courses at SF have the same start and end dates as the regular term or flexterm (A and/or B) courses. Your courses become available on the begin date, not before. You should log in within the first two days as most courses have an early requirement for establishing attendance.
Myth #5 – Broken computers are great excuses.
Fact: Instructors will not accept excuses involving broken equipment or being “kicked off” the Internet. That’s why it is extremely important to complete work and tests before the last minute. If your home computer or Internet stops working, there are many computers available to students on the SF campus. In addition, public libraries provide Internet access.
Myth #6 – A computer will be provided.
Fact: SF does not provide computers for students taking online courses, but there are labs on campus for student use and the library has several computers and has extended hours. Your SF ID is required for entry. You may also check out a webcam if you need one to complete specific assignments for your online class by going to the front desk of the first floor of Building S.
Myth #7 – You will be taught how to use a computer.
Fact: To be successful in an online course, you must have minimal computer competencies such as basic word-processing skills, a working knowledge of how to navigate the Internet, how to use email and how to download and upload documents.
Myth #8 – I can hide out and remain anonymous.
Fact: Most online courses have a required discussion component that is part of the course grade. Not only will these discussions aid you in learning the material, you’ll also to get to know your classmates in a very open and honest way. Discussion allows shy students (or those who usually never raise their hand in class) to participate in a nonthreatening and protective environment and gain self-confidence.
Myth #9 – It is okay to procrastinate.
Fact: Students who take an online course need to be very self-disciplined and motivated. You need to be an independent learner who can take responsibility for completing assignments within set deadlines. It is very easy to get behind since there is no teacher standing up at the front of the class reminding you when things are due. You must be able to set your own schedule and stick to it. Online courses provide some flexibility, but you need to be able to manage this flexibility and not use it to put off doing the work. Online courses put more of the responsibility on the learner.
Myth #10 – There is no personal attention from your teacher.
Fact: Actually, many students who have taken online courses say they feel more connected to their professors than in the traditional classroom. Most professors log in daily to check for questions, assignments or problems, and usually get back to students quickly. In addition, some faculty who teach online still have specific office hours when you can call or visit in person.