Online Learning Today Episode 1

Welcome to Online Learning Today, a new podcast dedicated to teaching and learning in distance education. Providing you with helpful tips, recommendations, and more. My name is Eric Silva, and let’s get started.

Thank you for joining us for Episode One of the Online Learning Today podcast. This podcast was created to provide our students and faculty with helpful tips, recommendations, strategies, and more to make the most out of their online learning experience. My name is Eric Silva, an Instructional Designer with the Center for Online Learning and Teaching Technology at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

In this episode we’ll be focusing on 10 strategies students can utilize to succeed in their online courses.

Number 1. Have a good understanding of Blackboard. To be successful in your course it is important that you know how to navigate Blackboard and your courses. Take some time to enroll in the Blackboard Orientation course to learn how to complete various tasks. To enroll, login to Blackboard, and enter Blackboard Orientation in the course search tool located below the My Courses Module and self-enroll into the course.

Our second strategy is to Speak Up. Unlike a Face to Face class, online instructions aren’t aware of non-verbal behaviors such as confusion or frustration. So be sure to contribute your ideas, perspective, and comments whenever possible. This way you’ll receive feedback from not only your instructor, but your classmates as well.

Next up is time management. You’ll want to devote at least five to 10 hours per week per course. Don’t assume because it’s online that it’s easier. If you don’t have a planner or to-do-list, we recommend you get one as soon as possible. Once you have your syllabus take some time to go through it and identify when assignmnets are due and when you’ll have any major exams or projects. This way you’ll be well prepared and not have to worry about last-minute, uxpected assignments.

Our fourth tip for online learning success is to login to Blackboard daily! You’ll want to keep yourself updated on the latest course happenings at all times. This way you’ll be able to see the latest discussion board comment and any important announcements that have been posted by your instructor. To make this easier, we recommend downloading the Blackboard app so you’ll get notifications right on your phone of any changes in the course.

Tip Number 5. Once you gain access to Blackboard, typically on the first class today, you’ll want to take a quick overview of the course. Have a look around to get a general idea of where things are and where to access certain information. While doing this, you’ll want to browse the course syllabus and schedule, and the first module. This way you’ll be well prepared for the first assignment.

When taking a look around you’ll want to remember to READ ALL THE TEXT. Since the course is offered online, the primary method of communication is through text. As you read, remember to read with a purpose of understanding and not to simply browse through it. If a particular week contains lots of readings, you may want to create an outline of the text to help you better understand and organize it.

When reviewing your course content, remember to take notes. This will not only help you concentrate on the readings but will help at the end of the semester when reviewing for finals. You can take advantage of Office 365 and download OneNote for free with your UTRGV Email.  

Strategy #8. Some online courses contain audio and visual components. For example, if you’re taking a second language course, you may need to purchase a webcam and headset with a microphone for translation activities. Other courses may integrate Blackboard Collaborate to host virtual office hours or lecture. This information can be found within the course Syllabus.

Tip #9. As you wrap up each module, take some time to review your notes and ensure you completed all assignments and readings before moving onto the next. Try to also think of an association between what you’re learning and what you’re doing. This will assist in getting a better understanding of the content.

Our tenth and final strategy is to avoid distractions. While it can be easy to get distracted online, make sure you’re working in a quiet environment with no interruptions. Don’t distract yourself by browsing other websites unless they’re required for your assignment.

There you have it. 10 Strategies to succeed in your online courses. I hope you found them helpful and plan on using all of them during your next online course. 

This has been our first episode of Online Learning Today. My name is Eric Silva and I hope you join us for Episode 2.