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Tips for Success with Online Learning
28 February 2005
By Leah Woodke, On-Line/Distance Education Director

      United Tribes Technical College now offers courses and degree programs online. The college is accredited for online associate degrees in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Health Information Technology, Injury Prevention, and Nutrition and Food Service.

      Over 70 students are taking courses online this semester, some more than one course.

      Because online is a new way of learning, the Distance and Continuing Education Department provides support to make this a successful experience. Check out these tips for online success:

Discussion Room

      One of UTTC's requirements for online coursework is participation in the Discussion Room. Each learner is required to answer the instructor's questions as well as respond to another learners.

      TIP: Look at the question posted by your instructor early in the week. Try to respond by the middle of the week. If everyone has posted an answer by midweek, you'll have a chance to think about which one you want to respond to. Try to respond to someone's answer that no one else has responded to. That way, no one is left out of the conversation.

Time Management

      Online courses are not held at a designated time or place. They can be easy to ignore.

      TIP: If you schedule a fixed time to do your online coursework, you'll be more likely to keep up. The key is to stick to the schedule you create. Since the amount of time you can spend on a computer may be limited, you may want to print out your assignments.

Timely Communication

      Your instructor can communicate with you almost anytime. It's one of the great benefits of using computers.

      TIP: Check your email at least once per day. It's the most efficient and effective way for your instructor to communicate with you. Some information may be time sensitive.

Dealing with Technical Issues

      Some technical difficulties cannot be avoided. Hackers and others continually try to bring down the Internet and attack servers. Sometimes your computer will give you a "time out" if you're inactive too long. Don't let technical issues cause the loss of information.

      TIP: To avoid frustration save your work. Copy the assignments from your course and paste them into a word processing document like Word or AppleWorks. Then save it to disk or to your computer's hard drive. Type your answers into that document and save it. When you're ready to post your answers, all you need do is copy them from the document and paste them into the appropriate areas online. This works for the journal, lesson questions, and the discussion board.

"Help, I'm Failing. I Can't Catch Up!"

      We've all procrastinated in our lifetime. What do you do when you fall behind? Some quit. Some complain. Others make excuses or blame someone.

      TIP: Strong learners bear down and work hard to get caught up. They start by contacting their instructor for guidance and help. Another person they consult is the Online Learner Support Coordinator. And they turn to a friend for help and encouragement. They don't give up.

      Don't panic; work it through. You'll be glad you did. Of course, the best scenario is to keep up with coursework and meet the deadlines.

      For more information or help contact Barbara Archambault, Online Learner Support Coordinator, 701-255-3285 x 1431, barchambault@uttc.edu, or check website www.uttc.edu.


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