Although you won’t be meeting face-to-face every week like traditional courses, online courses can encompass just as much or more interaction between you and your instructor. Meaningful interaction can help to eliminate misunderstandings of course expectations and content. Another form of interaction – feedback on assignments – can improve your performance on future assignments and the overall online course. Most students in an online course will have opportunities for both synchronous (occurring at the same time) and asynchronous (occurring at different times) interactions. Synchronous interaction may include attending your class “live,” Skype, Zoom, video conferencing, chat rooms, and in-person meetings. Asynchronous interactions may include email, the LMS’s messaging tool, discussion boards or forums, and feedback received on your assignments. Although a course may offer multiple means of interaction, an instructor may have a preferred method of contact. To ensure reaching your instructor, always adhere to their preference. As long as you are a pro-active participant in your online course, you will experience as much meaningful interaction as you would in a traditional course.
For 3-credit hours you should expect to spend around three hours per week for a 16 week course or six hours per week for an 8 week course “in-class” online. This could include watching lecture videos, slideshows, other videos, online readings, participating in discussion boards, or other interactive activities. In addition, you will need to dedicate six hours per week for a 16 week course or twelve hours per week for an 8 week course completing homework and projects. These are good guidelines to use when making time in your schedule for your course. However, you may require more or less time depending on your knowledge of the subject matter, what subjects you excel in, and how the instructor has designed the course.
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