Students in previous courses taught by Dr.
McLennan offer the following advice for anyone contemplating an online course.
I think being able to take classes online is a great
benefit for adults especially those with children (from my perspective). Both parents
pretty much work now a days so time away from the home is hard to come by. Being able to
get online on my own time frame has been so helpful otherwise I would not have been able
to go back to school.
The one thing I would give as advice is manage your time in advance. Know what the
expectations are for the class such as how much time per week you are to be online for the
class. Schedule yourself a specific time when you are able to be at a computer,
uninterrupted. This allows you to do the class work and still manage the family and job.
I must admit, I was quite wary of my first online
course. Since completing it, I have made an effort to take one almost every semester now.
I enjoy the flexibility and ease at which I can access notes, homework, etc... at a time
that is most convenient to me (as I am an early morning person, it is nice to be able to
do school work at 4/5 AM). While online courses are certainly challenging in that one is
forced to manage their time in their terms rather than in class time, it has been a
worthwhile experience that I will repeat again.
I have enjoyed this class, as I have enjoyed the other
online classes that I have taken, however there are several factors that one should
consider before you take the "electronic plunge."
1) Online classes require discipline. No one is going
to hold your hand and that one to one feedback is not there.
2) READ thoroughly both your assignments as well as the instructions. It hurts to do work
that you didn't need to do.
3) Be very aware of deadlines, these classes simulate "Real World" conditions
more than standard classes.
4) Talk to your classmates; trust me there is power in numbers.
5) Your instructor is there to help, not the enemy...ask questions...lots of them!
6) If put in a group setting, don't be afraid to take charge, someone has to. If you're
wrong, your group will let you know.
7) Learn the ins and outs of Blackboard, it tends to get tricky sometimes, but the
tutorial within it is great.
8) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, do your work in a separate application (WORD, EXCEL,
POWERPOINT, etc...) and save it to your hard drive. Then copy and paste or import the
files to Blackboard...One day you will thank me for this one.
9)Offer assistance when you can, these classes require you to learn whatever the subject
matter is, but at the same time you are practicing some advanced web skills, that you
probably didn't know you possessed. Everybody may not have the same skills, lend a hand.
10) ENJOY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
These are my tips for excelling in online classes. I
have taken all that Tulane offers and look forward to more added each semester. These
online classes are the new current/trend in education.
Many student believe online is easier...I believe they are the same as a classroom. The
only difference being you do not have a classroom setting. The convenience of taking these
classes outweigh the inconveniences. Children's, work, family, and the time are some of
the reasons to take online classes.
Below I have listed some tips that in my humble opinion
one needs in excelling in online classes.
1. Have a computer that is reliable and will perform in all aspects of the course taken.
This means the correct software.
2. Be sure and back-up all information and homework.
3. Make a buddy in class
4. Show respect to all students and teachers.
5. Read the syllabus clearly and make a calendar for all important dates in class, such as
assignments due and tests.
6. Do not be afraid to ask questions from the instructor. When in doubt ASK!
7. Plan your time wisely on the computer and do not become over-tired. It would be best to
walk away and come back to your work at a later date. Some nights I have worked till the
screen became blurred. I now walk away till the next day and all the work is still there.
It will help you think clearer too.
8. Be kind to yourself!
9. Accept all the challenges of online classes in working with a group. Learn to adapt to
your group, even if you wanted to be in another.
10. Talk to other students that have taken online classes for feedback.
I've taken 3 on line classes so far at Tulane University College and the
biggest piece of advice I can give students is that you need to make sure that you are
self motivated. Its easy to keep up with your work when you attend a class in person and
the instructor reminds you of what is due each week. However, with an on line course you
have to remind your self each week to review your syllabus and see what's due and when.
* The most important thing to remember when taking your
first online course is that you are on your own time-wise. You must be disciplined enough
to meet deadlines.
* It may help to print out all assignments or course material and work from the paper,
rather than the computer screen. It helps to be able to flip between paper pages, rather
than web pages.
* Always back up your work - either to your hard drive or a disk.
* If possible, it is best to have DSL or other fast-access Internet access. Dial-up is
okay, but it is painfully slow!
* Remember, classmates are reading your information/responses on a computer screen; this
does not easily convey your feelings behind what you write. Be careful not to post
anything that could offend if taken the wrong way.
* Online courses are very convenient, in that you do not have to meet a class at a
specific time. I try to take at least one each semester, along with traditional classroom
courses. It is much easier to juggle assignments and due dates when you can work on them
at your convenience.
* Have fun.
-- Stephanie Fletcher
When I made the decision, 2 years ago now, to finish my
degree, online courses were definitely the best method for me. I am currently established
in my career, a full-time wife and mother, along with other hobbies and part-time
extracurricular activities. The online experience has given me the choice to really focus
on my education, at my pace, but with definite deadlines. I wouldn't have it any other
Critical advise for taking an online course is to make sure you're organized and always on
top of the assigned tasks and responsibilities. You're in total control of your demise!
This is my second course with Dr. McLennan and I have come away from both courses
thoroughly endowed with all the knowledge I need to take my career to the next level.