|VOLUME VIII - ISSUE 1
||OFFICE SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY
How to Succeed in Distance Learning Courses
Pellissippi State provides greater access to education by offering distance
learning courses that can be delivered using video tapes, the Internet,
printed and online materials, or a combination of all of these approaches.
Students enroll in distance learning classes as a way to advance toward
their degrees, while simultaneously working and/or taking care of their
families. This guide provides suggestions and tips for distance learners.
Familiarize yourself with the course design. Check the college
website to view the distance learning course syllabus. Spend time
looking at the course syllabus even before you register. Decide if
you can be a successful self-directed learner in this particular study
Identify tools necessary to complete assignments. Before enrolling
in a course, make sure you have access to the tools necessary to complete
assignments. Access to a computer with adequate hard disk space and
a modem for e-mail and Internet connections are "musts" for most classes.
Be realistic. You will not have to keep a class attendance
schedule, but you WILL have to do regular academic work and submit it when
due. Remember you should be spending at least two study hours each
week for every credit you are taking. So if there is insufficient
time in your personal schedule to do the work for the course, you will
Set interim goals and deadlines for yourself, and STICK TO THEM. Keep
a calendar showing the number of weeks in the semester and mark it off
with the amount of work you need to do each week. Especially note
the days when you will expect to take tests, submit projects, and contact
the instructor. Don't fall behind in your work! Keep reminding
yourself that you will always have more to do near the end of a course
than at the beginning.
Organize your goals in a study schedule. Identify study times
when you are fresh and attentive and stick to those times every week.
Think of study times as "reserved time." If you miss too many study
times, revise your schedule.
Avoid interruptions. Avoid all interruptions and distractions
while you are viewing a video or PowerPoint presentation, listening to
a cassette, reading a textbook, working on the computer, or studying.
Turn off the telephone if there is no one available to answer it but you.
Know where to study. Find a place that is free from distractions.
You might consider work--before hours or after hours and on your lunch
hour--a public library, or a separate room in your home.
Stay in touch with your instructor. Contact your instructor
regularly, especially when you have questions about course content materials.
Instructors are available by phone and/or email, or you may make an appointment
for an on-campus meeting. You may also correspond with your instructor
by mail or FAX.
Prepare for assigments and tests. In distance learning, course
assignments could involve the use of different mediums: print, videos,
audios, and the Internet. Remember, you are not just watching or
listening. You are learning from the information on those various
mediums. Take notes. Imagine questions that might be on a test
from your study guide, from your textbook, from videos, or audot tapes,
or from the Internet course assigments.
Use good communication skills. Pay careful attention to instructions
and be certain that you understand what is being asked when submitting
assignments. It often helps to develop a brief outline before responding
to questions whether they are submitted in writing, via e-mail, orally
or on video/audio tape.
Evaluate your own progress regularly. Re-read the course objectives
and standards often to see how you are progressing with them.
Time your tests wisely. Before you take a test, make sure
you understand the information covered in the course assigments that will
be the basis for a particular test.
Find some study-buddies. If you feel the need to study with
other students from the class, ask your instructor for help in identifying
other students who may want to work with you.
Discuss your progress. Ask your instructor at various points
in the semster how your progress is going. Also ask for help and
point out any areas that you think are difficult or unclear.
Use relaxation techniques to focus better. Relaxation techniques
can benefit learning in a number of ways, such as, heightening concentration,
heightening attention focusing, and lessening anxiety. Some common
relaxation techniques include deep breathing, stretching, and listening
to soothing music.
Source: "How to Succceed in Distance Learning Courses," Terra
Community College Distance Learning. August 16, 2001 <http://www.terra.cc.oh.us/detips.html>