0.3 - Being a Successful Learner in an Online Statistics Course

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OK, so you now have the technology all in place, your browser and plug-ins working and a reliably fast internet connection.  This is good but it is just a start!  There is more to learning online than just the technologies!

We want you get to most out of your online learning experience.  So, we have put together a list of 'Tips & Suggestions' that have been gathered from research and our own experience working with students.  We want you to listen to interviews with students who share their own advice based on their personal experiences and what they have to say about how they organize their time so that they can complete all of the necessary tasks and activities for a course. 

Read through these suggestions, watch the video and then make a personal plan for an approach that will help you make the most of your online learning experience!

Tips & Suggestions

  1. Pay close attention to the due dates of the assignments and check the Syllabus regularly in case changes have been made by the instructor!
  2. Plan ahead and plan well. Do not put off quizzes or assignments till the last minute! Courses in statistics are challenging and these courses are no different.  If you begin to fall behind it will be very difficult to catch up!!
  3. Check your e-mail regularly, but be patient while waiting for responses.
  4. Communicate with your instructor and/or classmates by e-mail, message boards, chat rooms, Instant Messenger, or phone. Subscribe to discussion forums so that you get notified if there is a post!
  5. Use courtesy in online communication and deal with conflict with respect.
  6. Evaluate your own progress by the course objectives and assignments, and regulate your own study pace based on this evaluation. Talk to your instructor if you encounter a problem.
  7. Participation is important to your learning experience in an online learning environment, so be confident in making contributions. Don't be afraid of making mistakes!
  8. Identify a way of taking notes you would prefer: use Word, online journal/Web logging, note-taking software, bookmarking the Web sites important to you, or any method that works well for you.
  9. Be aware of the resources for HELP available: your instructor, the Outreach HelpDesk, Outreach Student Services, Canvas Help or a librarian.
  10. Always check the file size when you try to upload a file to share. The bigger the file size, the more difficult it may be to upload and download.
  11. In addition to becoming familiar with the online learning environment, pay attention to the physical learning environment around you - try to arrange everything ergonomically in your learning space.
  12. Be sure to always display appropriate "Netiquette". Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of forum messages. Virginia Shea's "The Core Rules of Netiquette " are important guidelines that should always be followed when communicating in any online course.

Ask GOOD Questions!

Communicating back and forth with your instructor and classmates using email or discussion boards can be frustrating because of the back and forth nature of trying to find out specifically what you need to know.  For this reason it is important to ask questions that have enough information so to ensure that you will efficently get a helpful answer in return. 

1) Be Specific! For instance, if you ask, "I just don't get problem #4, can anyone help me?" - this is pretty general and I am sure potential respondents are saying, "Where do I start?!"  Instead, add more specific details to help your helpers help you more efficiently. If the question posted was, "I am gettting a different value for the standard error and here are values that I am using.  Can anyone see what I am doing wrong?"

2) Capture Your Screen! They say a picture is worth a thousand words - so you might as well take advantage of this!  Rather than explain, show what you see when you can. You can then either embed this in your message or add it as an attachment.  This can save you are your instructor lots of time!  Here are two brief video bits about how to make this happen.

There are also a number of screen capturing software applications that will allow you to capture just the portion of your screen that you would like to share.

How Much Time Will I Spend Online Each Week?

To successfully complete courses students are expected to spend as much time as they would for a traditonal course. Some of this time involves being connected online and interacting with others or the materials for the course. However, as for any course, there is much that is done away from the computer; readings, homework problems and project work.

Introductory Activities and Information

If you are still asking yourself questions such as,

  • "How am I going to connect with instructors and classmates at a distance?"
  • "How am I expected to create and share statistical formulas online?", or
  • "What do the different statistical software packages involve?"

... then check out the following Quick Tutorials pages (left) where these and other topics are discussed that will support your learning online.