Orientation for Online Courses

This orientation will prepare you for your online courses, as well as in-person courses utilizing online components (also known as “hybrid courses”). By completing this orientation, you will learn to:

  • prepare for your online course
  • manage your time in your online course
  • be a successful online student
  • use the online technologies
  • check your computer for use with your online course technologies
  • find help if something goes wrong.

Part I – Online Learning

What is Online Education?

You may have heard phrases such as distance learning, distance education, online learning, or a variety of other terms used to describe methods of learning outside the traditional classroom. In this orientation, we will use online to mean “distance learning delivered through electronic means.”

After you have completed this orientation you will know:

  • If online is right for you
  • Misconceptions and expectations of online courses
  • Technology requirements you may encounter
  • The difference between a hybrid and an online course.

Types of Courses

Hybrid versus Online Courses

The majority of Barton’s courses are hybrid courses, meaning they are classes that may meet face-to-face but utilize online technologies to deliver content or to assist in the teaching and learning process. We also have courses that are fully online, in which you do not meet in a classroom, but use online technologies to turn in assignments, complete discussion boards, submit papers and presentations, and email your professors.

Traditional

Hybrid

Online

Set day and time to meet in person A blend of traditional classroom and online learning Flexibility in when you can do your coursework
Interaction with peers and professor in class Two different types:
HY1 and HY2
Interaction over discussion forums, chat, blogs, and email
All have tests/exams, communication, assignments, discussion

Is Online Learning Right for You?

Sometimes you will have a choice between an online or a traditional class. So, how do you determine which one is right for you? Evaluate your readiness for online learning with this assessment:

Learner Assessment

Misconceptions of Online Courses

Let’s understand some common misconceptions about online courses:

  • An online course will be easier and take less time.
  • An online course will be self-paced; I can do it as quickly or slowly as I like.
  • I won’t have to interact with classmates in an online course.
  • Online courses run themselves; the professor doesn’t have much to do or say.

Expectations of Online Courses

Let’s understand some expectations about online courses:

  • Expect to spend three hours per credit hour each week on coursework
  • Expect to meet deadlines on coursework and exams
  • Expect to interact with classmates via discussion boards and collaborative tools
  • Expect feedback from your instructor regarding course work, discussions, and other assignments within the time frame stated in the course syllabus.
  • Expect to learn new technologies as required by courses

What Technologies Are Used?

Online courses utilize many types of technology. Faculty may use any of the following in their courses:

  1. Gmail
    Barton uses Gmail for its email system. During the semester, it is imperative that you check your email regularly and frequently as this is the main form of communication between faculty and students in online courses.
  2. eLearning
    At Barton, eLearning is our Learning Management System, and it is housed under Campus Connect, our intranet system for students and faculy. This is where you will go to find all courses, not just your online courses, but all face-to-face courses as well. Here you will see the various tabs within our courses, which include but are not limited to Course Syllabus, Course Announcements, Coursework, Handouts, Reading Assignments, Discussion Forums, Gradebook, Resources, Course Calendar, and Roster.
  3. Turnitin
    Faculty use this plagiarism-detection tool in many courses. If your professor requires this, it will be specified within your course syllabus.
  4. Various software programs
  5. YouTube
    Faculty may use YouTube when coursework requires video presentations. Your professor will include instructions in your course syllabus.
  6. Course Evaluation
    When taking an online course, you will be asked to complete a course evaluation at the end of the semester. You will receive a link via your Barton Gmail account.

Most likely, you will use all of these if you are taking an online or hybrid course at Barton. In addition, faculty have the option to require students to purchase additional programs, which will be specified within the course syllabus.


What Is a Typical Online Course like?

For students who have never taken an online course before, the concept can be somewhat foreign. Students must be prepared and manage their time well in online courses. In face-to-face classrooms, there are reminders for you to finish projects or assignments, or you receive grades for simply showing up and participating. In an online course, you should log into the course every day to see what has been updated or who has replied to your posts. Rely on the Course Calendar to help you keep up with due dates.