Is Online the Right Fit For You?


Image: Online education

ARE YOU READY?

Learning online is different and takes some additional skills, but virtual courses are just as rigorous and important as any other course. Your online course grades are part of your permanent school record. So, it is important to know if Online@Hiram is a good fit for you! Below are some items to consider.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

Understand that online courses:

  • may require more study time and preparation than a classroom course.
  • online classes typically have a regular schedule with weekly assignments and deadlines.
  • require good time management, organization, and self-discipline as Hiram’s 8-week format moves more quickly than our traditional 12-week schedule, so there is often more required readings and viewings than a traditional face-to-face course may have. 
  • often have weekly or daily online discussions for posting questions and answers.
  • are typically more flexible than in-person courses, allowing you to log on and access course content anytime, day or night.
  • require regular access to a computer, internet, and good typing skills. We have support to help you with this. Registered and need a loaner iPad to complete your work?  Contact Dray Technology Services.
  • require you to take initiative, advocate for yourself, and ask questions.

Having the right space set up that’s conducive to working on your coursework is crucial.  As yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a space that is quiet and distraction-free, where you can focus?
  • Is the space well-lit?
  • Do you have comfortable seating and a table to work at? You want to make it comfortable, but not too comfortable!
  • Is power available and accessible to that space for your device?
  • Do you have all of your supplies at hand?

In a traditional classroom, it is approximated that there is one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours out-of-class student work each week within each part of the term within a full semester. For classes offered in a shortened format (such as an 8-week format), the hours are prorated so the classes contain the same total number of hours as if the classes were scheduled for a full fifteen-week semester.  So, for a Hiram 12-week course that was 3-credit hours, you could anticipate a 3-credit hour course meeting for up to 3 or so hours per week in person, with an additional 6-8 hours of work outside of class.

WELL, THAT’S ALL FINE AND GOOD FOR IN-PERSON COURSES, BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR ONLINE STUDENTS?

As Hiram’s online courses are eight weeks long, you can expect to spend 9-14 hours per week on a 3-credit hour course and 12-16 hours per week in a 4-credit hour course, between watching the content provided, readings, learning activities, and the like.

GENERAL COMPUTER SKILLS

You should feel comfortable:

  • using a mouse or keyboard to scroll, left-click, or right-click.
  • navigating the Internet and the Learning Management System (Moodle).
  • sending and receiving e-mails, including attachments.
  • using office applications (e.g., Microsoft Office 365) to create and save documents.
  • downloading, installing, and updating required software or plug-ins on your computer.
  • downloading, saving, and retrieving files
  • sending and receiving emails with an email account (which you will receive when you become a Hiram student)
WEB LITERACY

You should feel comfortable:

  • conducting an effective search with a search engine (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo) using search commands
  • logging in and participating in Zoom meetings
  • evaluating web resources for authority, currency, purpose, and content
  • understanding copyrights, licenses, and plagiarism in a digital environment

Not sure if you have all of these skills already?  That is ok!  We will teach you!  However, at minimum, you should feel comfortable with the first item of conducting searches with a search engine.

MOODLE SKILLS

At Hiram College, we utilize a learning platform called Moodle.  You should be prepared to learn how to complete certain tasks within the platform.  If you don’t know these skills quite yet, that’s ok!  We will provide you with an orientation to Moodle to help you learn how to complete the following common tasks:

  • downloading course documents, such as a syllabus
  • viewing recorded presentations
  • posting your responses and replying to other classmates’ discussion posts
  • uploading your assignment submissions in the format indicated by your instructor
  • taking a quiz and viewing your quiz results
WHAT IF I AM STILL UNSURE OF MY ONLINE SKILLS?

You can take this Test of Online Learning Success skills assessment, created by Marcel S. Kerr, Kimberly Rynearson, and Marcus C. Kerr at the University of Arkansas to determine your own online student readiness!

To successfully complete courses, you need access to a computer and a reliable Internet connection. Mobile devices will let you access much of what is in the course but are not recommended for use with online assessments like exams or quizzes.

Your computer or mobile device should:

  1. be capable of handling Moodle. It works well with many browsers, but Firefox is particularly recommended. Internet Explorer is not.
  2. allow you to access and download and/or create and upload documents. (Hiram College provides Microsoft Office 365 free to students.)
  3. allow you to access and/or create multimedia content, including audio content.
  4. allow you to take online exams or quizzes.
  5. allow you to participate in a virtual classroom via Zoom, which may require a webcam and a microphone.

If you do not have a device that fits these requirements, as a Hiram College online student, you may request a loaner Tech and Trek bundle (iPad, keyboard, and Apple Pencil) that you would be required to be returned upon graduation.  To request your loaner bundle, please complete this form.  If you have questions regarding the Tech and Trek program, you can contact the Dray Technology Center.