Overcoming Your Tech Terror — Take 2
Welcome back to our two-part deep dive on overcoming your tech terror! (If you haven’t yet, read part one of the series.) In this post, we’re focusing on top concerns students have when thinking about going back to school online. Plus: Don’t just take our word for it. Get the scoop from actual students, too!
“It’s been a while since I’ve been at school, but I’ve always been kind of used to the old-school way of having a teacher right there…but online actually, so far it’s pretty easy. It’s very laid back…it was easy to follow the instructions that they sent of how to do the discussion posts and everything…and then the instructor, he’s very open to if you have any questions; he’ll respond to you almost immediately with anything that you may need help with. So it was definitely a good adjustment.” — Tiffany R., Bellevue University
Q: Do I need a computer? What else do I need?
A: While you don’t necessarily need to own a computer, you’ll need access to a computer or laptop — whether it’s yours, a friend’s, a family member’s, or even the computer at a public library. You can take some courses on a tablet, but always check with your institution or Guild coach for the technological requirements of your program. Beyond that, you’ll need access to Wi-Fi, and many courses require the use of an office suite (so a word, spreadsheet, and presentation program). Some institutions offer office suite software free to students.
“Being able to do everything from my truck — I can just hook my laptop to my hotspot on my phone right there and take care of whatever I need to take care of.” — David S., Brandman University
Q: How do I go to class online? What does online coursework look like? How do I take tests online?
A: A huge benefit of online classes is that they’re flexible with your schedule. In most programs, you don’t have to appear for class at a certain time. When you’re ready to begin, you simply log in to your account on your school’s website and complete your work. While each institution sets up their website differently, your account will give you access to your course syllabi, assignments, discussion boards, tests, and a method to contact your instructors, as well as any resources your school provides, like advisors, tutoring, tech support, and libraries.
Your coursework will vary based on your chosen school and program, but it can consist of video lectures from your instructors, required readings, discussion board posts and responses, online assignments, essays, presentations, group projects, and tests. In general, your instructor will explain how they want you to complete assignments or take tests and when they’re due. If you have questions, it’s always acceptable to reach out for clarification.
“In a classroom environment, it was hard because I really didn’t understand a lot of it. Whereas with this program, it’s easier to understand because it is so simplified for you, and it has so many videos that you can go in and rewatch over and over until you finally get that, ‘Oh yeah, there it is. Now I understand.’” — Cindy W., Penn Foster High School
Q: How am I held accountable in online classes?
A: Online classes are the same as in-person classes in that they have syllabi and deadlines to follow. Even though you can choose when to log on to complete your work, there will still be due dates for assignments, projects, and tests that you must follow in order to maintain a good grade. If you’re looking for extra accountability help, reach out to your academic advisor or Guild Student Success Coach to schedule check-ins and ask for study tips.
“It kind of forces you to set a schedule and stick to deadlines and things like that, and be a little bit more disciplined.” — Jacob G., Bellevue University
If fears of being able to use the technology or understand the specifics of how to go to school online are what’s holding you back from going back to school — don’t let them. You have many resources and people ready to support you and help you achieve your education goals. If you’re still feeling a little nervous, check out this post to get familiar with your online school community (aka the people who will have your back!).
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