Though online learning is new to many students this year, it’s something that’s been offered for years by some colleges and universities. If you’re used to in-person learning and are just starting to engage with online classes, here is what you should know about learning remotely and how technology can help replicate the physical classroom experience.
What is online learning?
Online education is delivered through the internet, typically allowing students to take courses without physically going to campus. These courses can be offered fully online or are a mix of remote and in-person learning, such as healthcare classes that require lab sessions. Herzing University offers some online-only as well as hybrid programs.
Online classes resemble in-person learning more than you would think. For starters, students are assessed based on nearly the same standards used in a regular classroom. They’re expected to submit homework assignments, take exams, attend class lectures and participate in course discussions.
Additionally, time management, communication and organizational skills are just as relevant in both settings.
What are some of the benefits of online classes?
Since the pandemic, online learning options have become more accessible to students even if they are not enrolled in an online school. While it is different from learning on campus, remote learning options have a variety of benefits, such as:
- Personalized Learning – Herzing University is a leader in an online learning approach that leverages adaptive learning technology. In adaptive learning, the education platform continuously evaluates and adjusts to meet the specific needs of each student. Herzing collaborates with RealizeIt to create an individualized, instructional model that is based on students’ prior knowledge, current learning ability and more.
- Flexibility – You can take the online portion of your classes with you anywhere as long as you have internet access. Having hybrid or online classes gives you more options when scheduling classes. For example, if you don’t have to commute to and from campus, you might have more time to squeeze in a night or early morning class you weren’t able to make before.
- Preparation for the Future – Online learning is the future of education. According to a survey conducted by Pearson, people believe learning is easier and more engaging with the right tools and technology. Additionally, as work from home arrangements continue across the country because of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s possible these arrangements might become permanent. Having some, if not all of your classes online can help students advance skills in technology platforms used when working from home such as video conferencing and remote presentation skills.
What tools will I be using?
When pursuing a degree online, students are usually provided two main platforms – a course management tool and a video conferencing platform. Herzing University students use Canvas to complete course work and attend virtual lectures. Zoom is a great resource for students to connect outside of the classroom.
Canvas is the platform that holds all your classroom information. When you first log in, you can find a dashboard with “course cards” for every class you’re enrolled in and a list of assignments from your professors organized by due date.
When clicked on, course cards have a more in-depth view of each class and are organized based on your instructor’s preference. Within each class, you’ll use features to manage course work including submitting assignments and exams, using the calendar for project due dates and checking grades through the Gradebook feature.
This platform also fosters the feeling of in-person learning through discussion boards covering multiple topics, chat rooms for live brainstorms and discussions, and centralized email so you can have a constant line of communication with your instructor and other students.
Although it is not a requirement, Zoom is a tool used for some virtual lectures. A meeting link is provided for you to access a live discussion with your professor and classmates. When attending Zoom calls, you’ll have the opportunity to see your classmates and teachers through the camera feature while participating in lectures and conversations you’d normally have in a classroom setting.
With Zoom, you can also share your computer screen to give presentations and use a chat feature to ask or answer questions without interrupting the speaker.
What are some tips for online learning?
Switching to completely remote learning can be a little bit of an adjustment for some students, but overall it requires many of the same skillsets used in an in-person classroom. Some key tips to remember when taking courses online are:
- Manage your time – Staying organized can be one of the biggest challenges for students new to online learning. Although you might have more flexibility in scheduling classes or taking your schoolwork on the go, it’s still important not to procrastinate and stay organized.
- Leverage your resources – Make sure you’re taking advantage of the resources your teacher and university provide to you. Take the time to use the online tutoring center if you’re struggling with a class or reach out to peers to set up a Zoom study group when preparing for a test. Herzing provides students with a variety of online resources, but it’s the student’s job to initiate that conversation if they need help.
- Have a consistent workspace – If you’re able, keeping a consistent workspace can help improve your study and homework habits. Setting up a designated desk or work area can increase focus and create a more productive mindset.
- Engage with instructors and class content – Make sure you’re participating in class by answering questions during video lectures, asking questions and participating in discussion boards. Taking an active role in your courses can help improve your learning and understanding of the course material.