How Are New Students Orientated to the Online College Learning Environment?

Becoming familiar with the online college environment can be stressful because of the differences between online learning and traditional learning. Many schools and institutions had developed orientation methods for students to engage in in order to provide valuable tools and resources that will enrich the learning process. Most often, students will not have to search for these tools as the schools are more than willing to provide them upfront.

Student Services

Many online learning institutions provide students with a student services department. Normally this department consists of admissions, records, and advising teams that work with each other and with the student to provide support and information. Generally speaking, students will find themselves assigned to an advisor who specializes in their program and who will be able to make class recommendations and provide insight into class order, requirements, and other important factors.

A quality school provides information about contacting student services early on in the admissions process. In fact, some of the first contacts students will receive when they apply to an online school will be from their potential advisors and counselors. Students who wish to utilize this resource to the fullest should maintain regular contact with their advisor throughout the duration of their education. They should also ask for step by step procedures when it comes to registration, class selection, and obtaining books. Additionally, members of student services will often take the initiative to call and email their students on a regular basis. New students who are still adapting to the online college environment will want to follow up with their advisors and counselors so that they can receive the best assistance and information possible during their initial orientation.

Classes and Training Tutorials

Many schools will also offer classes and training sessions for the orientation of new students. These courses are normally one credit hour long and designed to introduce the school to the students. Students should take advantage of these opportunities and learn as much about the school as possible. Information about library access, additional requirements, and other locations a student needs to access for the full online experience.

Training tutorials are also a part of the online experience. Many online schools will require students to register in one space, order books in one space, and access their email or online classroom in another. Normally, these places will all have different login requirements and operate on different servers and settings. To combat that, the available tutorials will provide students with practice runs to make them more comfortable using the available systems.

The Importance of Orientation

Receiving and online education is different than attending a traditional class in a classroom. It requires more effort from the student as well as a basic understanding of technology. Most schools provide opportunities for students to orientate into the online learning environment, and it is important that students take advantage of that. When attending classes or speaking with student services, ask questions that they do not cover. These might be simple things like the maximum credit load in a term or how to select a minor, but the questions might be more complex. Utilizing the available orientation tools will make adapting to the online college environment easier and more enjoyable.

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