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Distance Learning Protocols


Scope

This document is intended to describe the instructional practices that will be followed when this course is offered as a purely online class via the Internet (using a distance learning approach). The most important fact to remember is that participation in a distance learning course demands extreme academic discipline from the student. The substitution of distance learning mechanisms in place of face-to-face (F2F) classroom participation requires that students define and maintain their own rigorous schedule of study. Beware that course deadlines will be rigidly enforced.

Most successful students find that the best plan is to set aside regularly scheduled blocks of time each week to work on the class. This helps to keep them on schedule. Many students benefit from also enlisting the aid of family and friends to help keep them on schedule. Even beyond that, a proactive attitude is essential. Students are strongly encouraged to keep ahead of the Course Schedule (found at the bottom of your course syllabus rather than simply keeping up with it. This approach helps to counteract [Murphy's Law].

Students should understand that the online method does not require isolation. You are encouraged to take full advantage of the resources offered by your instructor and the college. Many online students visit with their instructors during office hours or by phone more than F2F students do. Do not hesitate to contact your instructor if you need help or want advice. That is part of what your tuition covers.

Students in face-to-face (F2F) sections of the class also use many of the same online resources that purely online students employ to: maintain contact with their instructor, submit assignments, and take assessments. All students (regardless of method of participation) should read the General Notes page for theri course to acquaint themselves with common elements related to course participation. The remainder of this document discusses only the elements unique to the purely online student.


Student Activities Online Using the Virtual Classroom

Discussion Forums

The provides a group conferencing tool that it refers to as "Discussion Forums". Its use is described on the General Notes page for each course. In addition to the discussion forums that F2F students might use when taking this course, online students are required to participate in one named Required Postings. It will be used for formal posting assignments in which your instructor will post a question or suggest a topic and ask students to reply. Deadlines for these activities will be noted in the course schedule on the syllabus. You should review the web page named Posting Instructions prior to posting each required discussion message.

Assessments

In this course, you are required to come to an to take your final exam (see the Course Schedule below). (The Contact section of your syllabus requires that you send your instructor an email in the first week of the course notifying him which campus Assessment Center you prefer to visit to take your final exam.) All other assessment will be in the form of either multiple-choice or true/false format online quizzes delivered via the .

You may use your textbook and any of my posted notes while taking the quiz, but you must take it without anyone else's help. Don't use the book and web notes as a crutch. You are STRONGLY encouraged to produce your own set of hand-written notes from your reading, just as if you were taking notes in class. The act of writing concepts down helps you to remember them. Re-writing and reorganizing your notes helps you to set the concepts firmly in your mind.

Don't worry if technical difficulties arise. We will deal with them. Be sure to contact me immediately if you have any problems. If you need assistance with the eLearning online Assessment system, click on the Help button in the lefthand menu. Be aware that you have only one attempt at the test. So don't start it and then log out and expect to return to it. Most students say that the quiz interface is fairly easy to understand and use. However, it is advisable to take your quiz at a time when the college staff is on duty in case of difficulties. Also try to use a stable Internet connection and a reliable computer with an uninterruptible (battery backup) power supply if possible. If these are not available at home, you should consider using a computer at one of the college computer labs or libraries to take your assessments.


You are advised to review this page and the General Notes page for your course periodically to avoid mistakes and maintain effective control over your online course. For more information, contact your instructor.

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