DISTANCE & DIGITAL LEARNING can be challenging, but being prepared can help set you up for success. You’re probably already using digital resources like online articles or videos, but you might not be using specific strategies to support your learning.
Expect to learn from non-traditional resources such as audio files or animation.
When studying from digital resources, try using a computer instead of your phone and take notes. This can make it easier to remember the details.
Be prepared to read and write a lot.
Check your email and D2L frequently for messages from your instructors.
For online (distance) courses, confirm the technical requirements (hardware, software, etc.) before the class begins.
How will you organize and track your course materials and assignments?
If an online course includes a lecture component (through video, audio, etc.), have you set aside a specific time and private place to participate?
If you’re doing your coursework at home, how will you manage distractions?
How do you manage your time to avoid last-minute cramming and panic?
Do you know when your assignments are due for each course, and have you marked the deadlines on a print or electronic calendar?
Most Camosun instructors use an online learning management system called D2L. When you log in to D2L, you’ll generally find course outlines, assignments and due dates, readings, and other course materials.
Log in to D2L daily for each applicable course. Many instructors will communicate with you through D2L.
Familiarize yourself with the D2L layout for each course. Instructors organize their course materials in different ways.
Know where to find everything: the learning outcomes, course outline (which usually includes assignment due dates), and assignment guidelines so you can find them quickly when you need to.
If your instructor doesn’t provide handouts, consider printing course outlines and assignment guidelines for frequent handy reference.
If you prefer not to print, consider downloading materials to your computer so you can organize them and mark them up.
Whether your classes happen in person, at a distance (online), or some combination, you can expect them to include some digital resources. Instructors may ask you to read online articles or PDFs, watch videos, or take online quizzes and tests. How will you manage this effectively?
Figure out how the resource connects to the learning outcomes or a specific assignment. Why do you think your instructor assigned it (purpose)?
Keeping the purpose in mind, take notes from the source.
For taking notes, consider the easiest format for future review: digital notes are handy, but you have to remember where you save them. Handwritten notes may help you remember the material better, but will you have them with you when you need them? Index cards would work well if you want to take notes in the form of test questions.
For long sources, break down the work into chunks. If you have to read 100 pages by Friday, for example, how many pages is that per day? Depending on how the source is organized, you could break it down by section headings.
See the Tools and Resources section for online test-taking tips.
Online courses can be very challenging if you don’t plan ahead. Consider these ideas to help you out:
Keep in mind that taking an online (distance) course is just as much work as a face-to-face course.
Expect to participate in a discussion board through D2L or some other application.
Confirm equipment requirements such as a headset/microphone combo, or speakers and a built-in mic on your laptop.
Confirm technical requirements, like ensuring reliable Internet access and downloading required software.
Consider using Chrome if you have issues with other browsers.
You can’t access everything on an iPhone, for example, Adobe Flash.