November 12th, 2012 by eTutor
|Choosing a strong online instructional program at the high school level is a challenge. Parents and students need to find a virtual program that offers an accredited diploma and provides academic support for students from a certified staff.
Whether looking to catch up, are unable to attend school for medical reasons, are pursuing a GED or simply want a quality high school education, the combination of an accredited curriculum with online tutors ensures a quality education that is recognized across the nation.
While we believe that this is a winning formula, online instruction is different from traditional schooling in some important ways. There is no driving to campus and fighting for a parking space, because students aren’t meeting in a classroom at a regular time and place. Communication with the tutor will take place online, not in person. Without an instructor reminding the student of what is due in class each week, the student will have more responsibility for their own learning. Students will need basic computing skills and convenient access to the Internet.
The skills the high school student needs most to be a successful online learner are the same ones needed in traditional schooling: preparation, organization and self-discipline. The difference is in how these are applied. The best programs are designed to help students get the most out of their online instructional program.
As an online learner, there are things the student can do to make their learning a successful, rewarding experience. Some are common sense, like being prepared and getting work done on time, while others are less intuitive but important. The following may help the student get the most out of an online learning experience.
Spend time at the computer and on the Internet everyday, getting comfortable with the equipment and surroundings. Practice computing skills until confident the online instruction can be fully completed.
Read instructional material carefully. What activities need to be completed? When are assignments due? How can the student contact the tutor? How can the student get help if needed? Mark important dates on a calendar.
Read the instructional guides and handbooks before starting the program. Practice using the online program. Find out if the computer, to be used, has a firewall. Will it prevent the student from accessing particular web sites or using browser plug-ins to view resources included in the instructional program? Learn how to get around before starting, so that connecting to learning is easy and ready for the learner.
Set aside a significant amount of time each week for online learning. We recommend at least twenty hours. Online learning requires as much time and effort as regular schooling. Develop a schedule and stick to it. Without the structure of weekly class meetings, the student may be tempted to put off assignments and instruction until the last minute. Instead, the student should give himself extra time to do the work, because technology can slow down the process.
Without an instructor and fellow students nearby to offer help and support, the student will be relying on himself more than ever. One way, is to use the resources that are available in most programs, including online help, tutorials, handbooks and the Internet. Another is to monitor progress by knowing where the student is in each subject; which assignments have been completed? Which lay ahead?
Develop Good Habits
One way to be a successful online learner is to develop good habits early. Email will be the main form of communication in most programs. Get into the habit of checking email at least once a day.