Managing Course Work
If you are a student working in an online environment, it is critical that you learn to manage your workload effectively. This involves managing your time and your course work, taking advantage of online tools, and accessing support in your learning management system or from your institution. Develop a plan before or early in the course and make a point of asking questions when you need support.
Using Your Learning Management System
Depending on the learning management system at your institution, such as Canvas, D2L or Blackboard, you should have access to either a user-manual or help tutorials within your course or on your home page. Lethbridge College students can visit the The Hive, Canvas help guides or self-enroll in the Set For Success: Navigating Learning at a Distance here. The Set for Success course doesn’t affect your GPA and walks you through everything you need to know to navigate online learning at Lethbridge College. We recommend finishing it before your first semester but you can complete it to whatever degree and at whatever pace helps you.
Early in the course, locate and preview the materials available for support. If you are having difficulty and cannot find the support you need, contact your institution or your instructor. Technical problems sometimes take time to fix, so avoid doing this last-minute.
In an online course, it is crucial that you look for help when you are having difficulty. There are several places where you may find help available:
- Your instructor should be your first contact when you require support with the course materials. Look for instructor contact information within your course page on your Learning Management System.
- Technical support may be found on your institution’s website in the form of a help desk or user manuals. At Lethbridge College, the Buchanan Library and Information Technology Services provide technical support to students.
- Should you require additional academic, disability or personal support, contact your institution to access available resources. At Lethbridge College, many support services are available through the Current Students page and the New Student Orientation page.
Completing Course Work
Course work in an online classroom is not easier than course work in a traditional classroom; in fact, it may take you longer. Extra time is needed when completing online course work because you are working more independently. You are required to search for answers to your own questions, wait for communication from your instructor and peers, and make assumptions about written instructions. This process is time-consuming, and if you make false assumptions or cannot find an answer to your question, you may waste study time. To make sure that you are successfully completing your course work, follow these simple tips:
- Read through the course materials to become familiar with the course requirements. Look for details such as assignment deadlines, quizzes and exams, readings, technology requirements and grading policies. Use the course outcomes to give you a broad picture of the course’s key concepts. Look for chapter or module objectives to guide your learning.
- Set deadlines for yourself using the calendar tool in your learning management system. It is advisable to set your deadlines at least a day earlier than the actual due date just in case you run into some challenges.
- Track your progress using your course checklist. The course checklist tool will list all of the assignments for the course with their due dates. Depending on your learning management system, you should be able to track your progress through the course by clicking off each assignment as it is completed. If your course does not have a checklist, make your own.
- Preview assignments before you complete your weekly readings. This will focus your reading and note-taking. As you read, look for the information that will help you complete the assignment(s).
- Compose assignments and postings as Word documents so that you have a back-up copy of your work saved to your computer.
- Understand in advance where and how assignments should be submitted. Ask for help early if you need it.
- Review feedback provided by your instructor and apply any suggestions for improvement to your next assignment.
- Seek help through your instructor’s office hours, your institution’s student support services or a tutoring service if you are encountering difficulties in your studies. At Lethbridge College, many support services are available through the Current Students page
- Talk to your classmates. Start a class chat (Discord, Messenger, Whatsapp; just make it accessible), facilitate a study group, participate in discussions, find a study buddy, etc.
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