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"Workforce Education has been there for me since day one!" - Jenny S, Green River student

Jul 14, 2010

Is E-Learning For You?

(adapted from greenriver.edu)

Today's post is about e-learning.  What's e-learning?  In simple terms, the phrase denotes the use of electronic formats to conduct learning.  In even simpler terms, e-learning means online classes

Green River Community College offers a wide variety of online classes in both university transfer and professional technical pathways.  This is a good thing.  Online classes provide a convenient alternative to the traditional classroom experience, especially for students who are home-bound due to injury, the raising of children, or care of a family member; place-bound due to living far away from their college campus; or job-bound due to working rotating or sporadic job schedules.  Online classes also provide a convenient alternative for students with disabilities or for students who simply prefer learning from the comfort of their own home.

While online classes provide a convenient alternative to the traditional classroom experience, and while they are becoming a more permanent fixture in the two-year college system, they also imply a certain type of learner who already has the skills needed to succeed in an electronic learning environment.  Not everyone, in other words, is cut out for online classes, at least not right away.  So today, let's briefly talk about what makes a good online, or e-learning, student.

First off, students who typically succeed in online formats are self-starters who:
  • Are highly motivated
  • Have a capacity for self-guided learning
  • Have good time management skills
  • Take responsbility for learning outcomes
  • Take the initiative to contact an instructor with questions
In addition, successful e-learning students possess a key set of skills going into the class.  Specifically, they already know how to:
  • Use the Internet
  • Use a search engine
  • Send and receive email with attachments
  • Use word processing applications
  • Use a chat room
Finally, Green River recommends that before taking onlines classes, students should first score five points or more above the qualifying minimum for transfer classes on the COMPASS assessment.  That is, students who take the COMPASS English and Math assessment should have higher than the lowest possible qualifying score before signing up for online classes.  If those COMPASS scores are only at the qualifying minimum (and not at least 5 points above), you may want to start with traditional classroom courses to build up your English and Math skills before making the transition to online classes.

Oh, and one last thing.  If you decide to take an online class, make sure you have a back-up plan in case your primary computer crashes, malfunctions, or is stolen.  It happens.  Identify a second computer you can use to complete the online class in the event something like this happens, be it a computer at a friend or relative's home, or a computer at a county or college library.

To recap, e-learning might be good fit for you if you're a self-starter, if you have a key set of computer skills up front, if you score above the qualifying minimum on the COMPASS, if you have a back-up plan, and, of course, if you like completing work on your computer.