What skills do I need?

Study Skills

1. Budget your time.
At a minimum, you will need to study between six and nine hours EACH week in order to be successful in a three-unit course.

2. Get organized.
It is recommended that you don't procrastinate and don't get behind.
It's very easy to get behind in an online course because you don't actually see the instructor or your fellow students on a regular basis. No one can force you to login to Canvas or to answer your email. If you're not careful, you can attend to the responsibilities that are right there in your life and postpone your responsibilities in cyberspace.

3. Meet deadlines.
Many students incorrectly believe that an online course is student-paced and they can choose when to hand in materials. Actually, most online courses are instructor-paced and there are real deadline which must be met if you are to pass the course. If you really don't have time to do the work, drop the course before you fail the course.

4. Keep in touch with your instructor and your classmates.
Most instructors provide a discussion board within Canvas for you to post questions about the course requirements, the course content, or the technology. As soon as you begin to be confused or have a question, post it to the discussion board and ask for help from your fellow students. Most online students are glad to help and welcome a chance to get to know their classmates better.

5. Be a good reader and enjoy reading.
Most lecture material in the online learning environment must be read. Students who are auditory learners (learn better by hearing) may want to consider taking face to face classes or downloading a free screen reader.

6. Be able to communicate clearly and concisely through writing.
Since almost all communication is written, the ability to enter text in a reasonably speedy fashion is also of value.

7. Be an independent learner.
Must be self-disciplined and self-motivated. This is an extremely important characteristic. Self-discipline and self-motivation play a pivotal role in whether most students will succeed or fail online courses.

8. Be willing and able to commit 6 to 12 plus hours per week per course.
Many successful students say online learning is more time consuming than traditional learning.

9. Be open to sharing life, work and educational experiences as part of the learning process but exercise caution. Allan Hancock College does not restrict enrollment in distance learning classes any more than it does in on-site classes. The law requires that we admit all qualified students. We encourage you to exercise the same kind of caution in a distance learning class as you would if you were taking an on-site class. Do not share personal information about yourself; do not give a relative stranger or new acquaintance your home phone number, address, etc.

10 bits of information on distance learning

  1. Online students sometimes can end up neglecting courses because of personal or professional circumstances unless they have compelling reasons for taking the course.
  2. Some students prefer the independence of an online course; others find it uncomfortable.
  3. Online courses give students greater freedom of scheduling, but they can require more self-discipline than on-campus classes.
  4. Some people learn best by physically interacting with other students and instructors, but online courses employ e-mail and online conferences for interaction.
  5. Online courses require you to work from written direction without face-to-face instructions.
  6. Online courses require a working computer and a reliable internet connection.
  7. Online courses require at least as much time as on-campus courses.
  8. Online courses frequently use technology for teaching and communications.
  9. On-screen materials are the primary source of directions and information in online courses.
  10. Some online courses require some travel to complete proctored exams.

Technical Skills

You don't have to be a computer wizard to have the technical skills necessary to be a successful online learner, but you do need:

  • Be familiar with the operating system of the computer you are using
  • To be able to navigate the Internet using a browser - Internet 
Explorer 10+, Mozilla Firefox 20+, Google’s Chrome, or Safari 5.0.

  • Can type, cut, copy and paste
  • Able to use email
  • Attach a file to an email
  • Understand terms such as mouse, drag, open, launch, select, file, choose, double-click, download, upload, send, and so on
  • Save, edit, and find files/folders on external storage and hard drives
  • Download and upload files
  • Go to a specific URL (webpage)
  • Print a page
  • Conduct a basic search using a search engine
  • Word Processing Skills
  • Open a new or existing file
  • Save a file
  • Rename a file
  • Print a document

Have access to:
Computer with internet access 
Other plug-ins and software may be required for some courses.

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Last Modified Jun 30, 2017