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Online Course Basics





What is an Online Course?




An online course (sometimes referred to as a Web-based or Web-delivered course) is a class taught via the World Wide Web.  Online courses are a form of distance learning.  You can take the course at a “distance.”  This means you should be able to take the course without coming to campus.

Most Southeast Online courses fit this description, though there are some rare exceptions where an on campus meeting is required.  Online courses are also distant in time.  Southeast Online courses are asynchronous courses.  This means that you do not have to be online at a specific time taking the course.  Your most convenient time may be at three in the morning, at lunchtime, or in the evening.  Other students may logon at different times. 

Southeast Online courses are not self-paced courses.  You cannot complete the entire course in just a few weeks.  Typically, Southeast Online courses have materials and assignments provided on a weekly basis, or even smaller chunks of time.

Southeast Online courses are the same courses that are taught in the face-to-face (F2F) classroom.  They are simply sections of the course taught in the online environment, i.e. on the Web.  For the most part, the content and materials are the same as you would get in the F2F class.  The delivery is different.  Class material is delivered via text or multimedia. 

Typically, material in an online class will be reading text on the class Web pages.  Supplementing that may be assigned reading from the class textbook, links to other Web sites, images, animations, simulations, interactive modules, PowerPoint presentations, audio, or streamed voice-over images or videos.  Assignments may be in the form of filling in forms, readings, email messages or attachments, discussions, quizzes, exams, materials uploaded to the Web site, or others as determined by the instructor. 

It is important to remember that online courses are very time intensive.  Plan on spending as much time in your online course as you would spend sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture and doing your homework outside of the classroom.  The time you spend in an online class is typically the same as a traditional class, you just spend your time differently.  You no longer spend time sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture: instead, you are reading and researching on your own.  On average, plan on spending about nine hours per week for each of your online classes.  If you are taking a class in a summer session, keep in mind that you will cover the same amount of material as you would in a sixteen- week course, but the timeframe is more condensed.  In essence, one day in a four-week summer course will cover the same material covered in one week of a sixteen-week course.

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