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Orientation: Getting Started with Online Learning

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What Do I Need To Know To Get Started?

Quick Start Syllabus

Students are mailed a one-page Quick-Start Syllabus. Your Quick Start Syllabus is course specific and you will receive one Quick Start Syllabus per course you are enrolled in through ELI. These are mailed to the mailing address on file. You can check your mailing address by logging into NOVA Connect and looking at the Student Center.

Read through the Quick-Start Syllabus to:

  • Make note of your instructors contact information.
  • Note your Critical Enrollment Dates.
  • Note the instructions on how to log into Blackboard and access your NOVA Connect account.
Reminder: You will not have access to your Blackboard course site until the first day the course is scheduled to begin.
Full-Length Syllabus

Once you have access to your course in Blackboard, read through the full-length Syllabus to:

  • Review the list of course material to make sure you have everything required.
  • Become familiar with the technology used in your course.
  • Look for the description of how you will be graded.
  • Contact your instructor with any questions you have.
  • Make note of course specific due dates.
  • Begin your assignments.
Materials Needed

Each course requires reading a textbook or other course materials. Additionally, a course may require using a study guide, course-specific computer software, video, or lab equipment. The materials you will need are listed in the course Online Syllabus. You can purchase these materials in the ELI bookstore.

Critical Enrollment Dates

You will have your own enrollment dates which you can find in the Syllabus. Most ELI courses follow a 16-week schedule although some courses may be accelerated with the instructor’s permission. The Enrollment Dates include:

  • Start Date: This is your official start date to begin your course.
  • Last Refund Date: You may withdraw up to this date and have your tuition money returned.
  • First Assignment Due Date: You must submit a required assignment before this date or you will be administratively deleted with no tuition refund.
  • Inactive Students Dropped Date: You must submit the number of assignments specified by your instructor by this date to avoid being administratively deleted by the instructor with no tuition refund.
  • Last Date for Withdrawal: You may request a withdrawal up to this point and receive a W grade. After this date, you will receive the grade you deserve based on the work you have completed. Instructors also use this date to withdraw students who have not completed the amount of work as specified by their instructors.
  • End of Enrollment date: This is the day your enrollment ends.

If you are making progress in your course, as specified by your instructor, as you near the end of your enrollment, you may request an incomplete. This would allow you to have additional time in which to complete the remaining assignments.

Contacting Your Instructor

You can contact your course instructor by phone or by email. You can find your instructor's phone numbers, email addresses and office hours listed in the Syllabus.

Note that when the college is closed, such as on holidays and between semesters, your instructor may not be available.

Being Successful

All students have various techniques that work for them when they are studying. Techniques that seem to help distance students include:

  • Creating a definite weekly schedule of when you will study each course. Determine which parts of the day/week are best for you, schedule 1/2 - 1 hour at a time, write it down and stick to it, regardless of what else might be tempting you. Remember that most 3-credit courses will require 6-9 hours of study per week.
  • Previewing your chapter by looking at headings and pictures, reading the chapter through once, then going back and outlining the chapter so you don't have to read the whole thing again before the test. Try different outlining techniques: drawing pictures of relationships, using colors to show relationships, putting your outline on audio tape so you can play it back at your convenience (in the car or on your headset while exercising).
  • Using a stack of index cards, put a question or word on the front and answer on the back, as a quick testing tool. You can use your index cards on the subway, during lunch hour, or any other time when you have a few minutes to spare.
  • Using as many senses as possible to learn the material. Try reading aloud, quizzing yourself out loud or having someone else quiz you. Make charts, graphs, and pictures of concepts. Associate sounds, tastes, and smells with terminology to create associations to help you remember.

And when it comes to the test…

Most instructors provide information online or in the Course Guide, about the kinds of test questions and the length of the exam. If you have questions, contact your instructor.

Review, review, review, and then relax.

Post Test

Take this post-test to see how much you know about getting started with online learning

1. When you enroll in an ELI course, what document should you receive in the postal mail prior to your course start date?

    Student Handbook

    Course Guide

    Quick-Start Syllabus

2. What information will you find in a full-length Syllabus?

    Textbook information

    Critical dates

    Grading information

    All of the above

3. What information will you find in a Quick-Start syllabus?

    Online course web site address

    Critical enrollment dates

    Instructor's email address

    All of the above

4. Critical Dates on your Syllabus include which of the following?

    Last day to withdraw with a refund

    Inactive Student Dropped Date

    First Assignment due date

    Start and End Dates

    All of the above

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