To be successful as an online student, you will need to stay on top of your assignments. Once you fall behind in a seven-week course, it will be difficult to recover and makeup assignments. You may not have classmates or the instructor reminding you to start an assignment early or even when the due date is. If you have questions about an assignment, you should proactively reach out to the instructor with the question.
You will be expected to participate regularly by responding to discussion board threads, engaging with interactive labs/lectures, submitting assignments, or taking quizzes. Instructors will expect timely completion of your assignments. Students have some flexibility as to when they complete their classwork, but due dates for these activities will be communicated to students via Brightspace, Eastern University's learning management system. As a result, it is recommended that students allow for dedicated time in their weekly schedule for coursework.
Many online courses will require you to watch videos, participate in live lecture sessions, and take quizzes. These interactive components will not work quite as well if your internet connection is slow or frequently needs to buffer in order to load a piece of content. For synchronous online courses in particular, you will need to actively participate in live class sessions with video and audio functionality.
Most instructors will expect you to be able to use a word processor to type up papers and a slide deck software like PowerPoint to make presentations. Excel comes in handy in statistics and business courses. If you do not have a copy of this software, you do not need to purchase it. You can access the basic programs through the Microsoft 365 website, using your Eastern email account.
Basic internet skills are essential to your success in an online course. Many times instructors may ask you to look up an article or the basic information of a specific topic online. Understanding how to do basic searches leads to the ability to do more advanced searches through the Library databases for scholarly articles which you will need for supporting your arguments in papers.
One of the primary ways Eastern and the instructor will communicate with you will be through your Eastern Gmail Account. In order to be successful, you will need to check this email often for important updates and communication.
You should expect that at times the technology will not work seamlessly. It is important that you will be able to stay calm in situations where there may be minor technical glitches and be proactive in trying to solve the problems first on your own before reaching out to the instructor or technical support at Eastern.
Online courses demand that you participate and contribute to the conversation. You cannot simply watch the lectures and read the material. The most prominent way you will participate will be through discussion board posts. The way you communicate with your instructor and classmates will also most likely be through written communication such as email and chat. Most likely your writing skills will improve as you get more comfortable with this mode of communication, but it is a good idea to seek help early if you are weak in this area.
The tendency to become distracted is much higher in an online course. If you are planning on doing your online coursework at home, make sure those around you such as family members or roommates understand and respect your commitment to your coursework. Let them know not to interrupt if you are participating in a live lecture. Try not to multi-task when you are working on your course. If the phone rings or you get a text message, reply only if it is urgent. Your coursework needs your full attention.
While there may be opportunities to work with others in your class; the bulk of your assignments will be independent work. Online asynchronous courses will include little face-to-face interaction throughout the course. While you may communicate through video discussions and your professor may offer optional live sessions, for the most part, your communication will be text-based. Online synchronous courses will likely hold several live face-to-face sessions via Zoom. Blended courses will involve some face-to-face contact with those in your class and your instructor. Regardless, much of your online course engagement will be completed on your own.