Myths and Facts
Online courses are easier than traditional, face-to-face courses.
Online courses are at the very least as rigorous as face-to-face courses. Students are actually more challenged by online courses because they are in charge of their own learning. Due to the fact that a large part of an online course is text based, there is a great deal of time spent reading and writing rather than speaking and listening. Students may perceive this as more time consuming than a traditional course. Students are encouraged to have a reading comprehension level of 84 or placement into English 101 before enrolling in an online course to ensure success. Students need to go into an online course that the course will require as much if not more time and effort as any traditional course.
Myth: Since there are no time or place limits, I can do all of my assignments at one time and not really have to attend class.
Fact: It is true that students can access their classes at any time and from any place where Internet connectivity is available. However, online courses are structured and organized so that content is delivered on a set schedule to ensure active participation and maximum learning. Students need to go into an online class knowing that the class will require as much if not more time and effort as any traditional class. Deadlines for completing class work are posted and expected to be met.
Myth: Since online classes are so flexible, it is okay if I have to miss an entire week or two of class. I can always make it up when I return.
Fact: It is true that many people choose online classes because of the flexibility, however, deadlines are deadlines. If a student misses turning in an assignment on time, he/she will receive a zero.
Myth: Online courses are condensed versions of traditional courses.
Fact: Online courses cover the exact same content that a traditional course covers.
Myth: If my computer breaks down, the instructor will have to excuse me from an assignment or at least give me more time to complete it.
Fact: Students are encouraged to have a back-up plan in case their primary computer malfunctions, they experience other technical difficulties, or they travel during the quarter. Students are expected to follow the back-up plan when necessary so that they may continue their coursework. The need for an extension is a moot point. This type of critical thinking on the student’s part is a necessary skill in dealing with technology in all facets of life today.
Myth: Since I am taking an online course, the school or the school system will provide a computer for me.
Fact: It is the student’s responsibility for providing the required technology. Computer labs are available to all students at all campuses if they choose to use them. Computers are also available for use at most public libraries, although they may have restrictions on time.
Myth: My online course will teach me everything I need to know about using the computer for this course.
Fact: Students must have prior skills in word-processing, e-mail, Internet use and research. Because of the nature of online courses, the student is expected to also have minimal typing skills. These are not skills that can be learned in conjunction with taking the class. They are skills that should be mastered before the class begins.
Myth: Because it is an online course, I can be invisible and remain anonymous.
Fact: All online courses have two discussion components: threaded discussion and chats. Both of these components are secure areas from which only students registered for that particular class may access. Students are required to participate in online discussions. Most students enjoy getting to know their classmates through threaded discussions and chats. These discussions allow for an exchange of ideas in which “shy” students may openly speak up in a protective, non-threatening environment.
Myth: In an online class, there is no teacher or the teacher doesn’t really interact with the students.
Fact: All online courses have instructors. Instructors log on regularly to check on assignments, check for messages from students and sometimes participate in discussions. Instructors contact students in most instances within 24 hours of a question or concern. Distance learning students take an active role in their courses and have even expressed that they feel more connected to their instructors than in traditional classrooms.