Ask Dr. Diane: First Time Online Student Questions

Ask Dr. Diane:  This week’s question is actually a compilation of several questions my “new to online learning” students have asked this week.

  1.  How much time does a student have to complete an online quiz?  This varies by school and by quiz.  In most of my courses, there is no time limit on taking the quiz.  However, many of the quizzes are set up so that you can only take them once.  If you get out of it, they often do not let you get back into it.  If you have technical difficulties, you might be able to call technical support and have them reset the quiz for you.
  2. How many discussion questions do I have to answer each week?  This also varies by school.  I have schools where I post one or two discussion questions each week that we get into a lot of depth discussing.  I have others were we have 5 questions.  Most schools require that you not only answer the initial question but that you also respond to some of your fellow classmates’ responses to that question. 
  3. How much time will I need to spend online each week?  This is a complicated question to answer.  Most of the classes I teach are asynchronous which means you can access the class during the hours of the day when it is most convenient for you. If a class is synchronous that would mean you would have to be online at a specific time.  In asynchronous classes, like the ones I teach, the majority of times students will spend will depend upon the course being taught.  It has been my experience that first-time 100 level courses require more reading than they do a lot of writing.  As you progress into master level courses, more research and writing will be required.  If you are reading more than writing, the time you spend online would depend upon whether your books were online books or regular books.  Even if they are online books, you could technically print them out.  I have some students say they spend about an hour a day online while others spend much more time.  A lot depends upon your learning style and that week’s assignments’ requirements.
  4. How are assignments submitted?  Each school uses a software program to have you access their classroom materials.  This software is called a platform.  The schools where I work use: OLS, Angel, eCollege and Blackboard.  The software for each school may differ to some extent, but in general, you will post answers to questions by responding in a way that is similar to responding to an email or a blog posting.  To upload assignments, it is very similar to uploading a file as you would if you were attaching it to an email. 

I answer a lot of these questions and more in my book:  The Online Student User’s Manual.

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