By: Sandra Neri
Thinking of taking an online course this summer? Make sure you got the right stuff first!
Online courses are a great opportunity to get some of your college credits out of the way, at your own pace, and around your hectic schedule. Before you sign up for a course, you need to take a few things into consideration first.
#1. The most important thing – The first thing you need to do is ask yourself “Can I manage my time well?” . Now answer that question very honestly, because you are going to have to commit to so many hours of reading, and studying.
#2. Make sure you have reliable access to internet – Whether you are using your computer or laptop, a friend (or family members), or the libraries computer, make sure it is reliable and available often (you will need it). The computer you are using must have internet access of course, sometimes it is necessary to have Windows Vista or a more recent edition to work on. Some courses may suggest you use Mozilla or Internet Explorer as your browser, and request you have certain programs such as Flash Player, or Shockwave player installed (these are free downloads).
#3. Choose your course wisely – Choose a course you are already comfortable with, and that you will not have a problem studying. While you will have an instructor to contact for questions, you are basically doing what the instructor assigns, and taking quizzes. This may include reading several chapters, doing chapter exercises and or lab activities, online quizzes, and then a test. You may have to come onto Triton campus to take your tests, which means you have to come on campus a few times during the online course. If there is a subject you struggle with, hate, or just don’t understand well…do not take it online.
#4. Read all instructions carefully – When you sign up for an online class at Triton College, you will need to login to Blackboard, which is accessible from the Triton College website home page under “Quicklinks”. Many online courses require that you purchase an access code from the Triton bookstore, along with any text books, workbooks or study guides the instructor has listed as required for the course. Always look at the syllabus right away, and read everything the instructor has prepared for you.
#5. Stay organized – I am not much for writing in planners or organizers, but I did keep a calendar near my computer with all my deadlines written in red ink. I also put post-its up near my desk, because I knew I would not always look at my wall calendar.
#6. Try to keep up – I know you got a lot going on in your life, and you think to yourself “Hey, I’ll just do twice the work next week”. Bad idea , especially with the summer online courses because they are shorter. Triton has three summer sessions: The first five-week session is May 29-June 29, the eight-week session is June 11-Aug 3, and the second five-week session is July 2- Aug 3.
#7. Last minute is a big risk– Most quizzes and tests will only be available up until a set day and time, so give yourself enough time to take the quiz, but also allow for unforeseen occurrences. Things to be prepared for: power outages, internet connection interruptions, computer viruses, etc.
Online courses are great, if you are prepared, and stay on a steady work schedule. You can do it!