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How to Succeed in Distance Education Courses
Are You Ready for Online Learning?
Online learning isn't for everyone. There are different characteristics that a student needs in order to be successful. Believe it or not, some students think that online classes are easier than traditional classes. But that is not the case. Online learning is different from traditional learning. It is demanding and it has the SAME requirements as its face-to-face counterparts
What does it take to be an online student?
Oxnard College offers a variety of online classes each semester. Many are entirely online (with no meetings or orientation in person), and some require meeting on campus for an orientation or for assessments and test taking during the term. There are also hybrid classes which require attending one or more classes on campus per week in addition to working online for a set number of hours. When you enroll in an online class, you should read the accompanying note on each class in the schedule to find out whether or not on-campus attendance is required. If you are using the online schedule, click on the CRN for the course to see the notes about the class.
In order to be successful in an online class, students must:
- Have regular access to a computer with Internet connection. For specific computer requirements, visit the Distance Education support site. Note, should you lose access to your personal computer or internet connection, you are still required to complete your online course work. Oxnard College has many computer labs and free Wi-Fi on campus for students.
- Have a word-processing program compatible with Microsoft Word (2003 or later) installed on your computer (the Microsoft Office software suite can be purchase from the bookstore for about $100). Please note that Microsoft Works is not compatible. However, other programs such as OpenOffice.org and Apple's Pages can also create documents in the Word format.
- Be able to perform a variety of tasks on a computer, such as open a browser, navigate the Internet, use a search engine, create a document and attach it to an email, and send and receive email. If you do not have experience with these activities, it is recommended that you take CIS R020A, Introduction to Microcomputers, or an equivalent class before enrolling in an online course. You can also visit Tutorial Services on the second floor of the library for individualized assistance.
- Have good reading skills. Much of the course work will be presented in writing and you will have to read and understand the content.
- Have good time management skills. Online and hybrid courses meet for the same amount of time as courses taught on campus. For example, if you are taking a 4-unit English 101 online, you will need to designate approximately four hours each week to work in the online class, plus you will also need to designate time for the required homework which occurs outside of class time.
Students who have taken face-to-face classes that include online components should find the transition to a fully online class easier. But if you are enthusiastic about computers and want to learn important skills that will be of great use in your future career, both academically and in the workplace, an online class can be a fun and convenient way to enhance or complete your community college education. For more information on how to be successful, visit the Distance Education website.
How does a student actually attend an online class? A few hours after you register (it may take up to 24 hours), when you access your my.vcccd.edu account, click on the My Courses tab and you should see the course name. Click on that name and you'll be inside your class, in an online classroom system called Desire2Learn (D2L). Just like in a traditional class, you need to attend the online class during the first week of instruction or you will be considered a no-show and you may be dropped. Logging into the course documents your presence, but some instructors may require a specific activity to be completed by a specified date in order to show your attendance. Instructors may monitor student activity in the online course, and drop students who are not consistently participating in scheduled tasks. Directions will be posted in the online class. Please note that even though some instructors will open their online class early, most will not. Most online classes will open on the first scheduled day of the term.
How does a student learn how to use D2L or access help pertaining to D2L? There is an online tutorial for D2L available here.
How can I find out what textbooks or other materials are required? See the Oxnard College Bookstore Booklist.
Is there any help on campus regarding how to use D2L or basic course components? Yes, in the Learning Resources Center, currently located above the Library, there are tutors available. Call (805) 986-1975 or 5839 or 5818 or 5819 or 5820 for further information. There is also a D2L tutorial video (password: octv) that can help you get started.
Can I take an online class if I have a learning disability? Yes, visit the EAC for learner accommodations, if needed.