Each institution is different in the things that you need to do in order to be prepared to successfully participate in and navigate an eLearning program. Below, you will find a list of items that are common to most institution’s eLearning environments.
- Update your computer with the necessary hardware and software requirements as dictated by the school.
- Activate your institution’s required computing accounts, such as Blackboard, Vista, WebCT, Moodle or Sakai (the online course management platform) and your school’s Email account.
- Check if you can access the course management system (CMS) such as Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai or whatever CMS has been adopted by the institution. Log into the system to make sure your user name and password works. Contact your school’s help line if you experience difficulty in gaining access.
- Watch this YouTube overview video of some of the features of the latest version of Blackboard. Your school’s CMS may be different, but this gives you an idea of the kinds of interactions that are typical in many CMS systems.
- Learn your school’s CMS. Work through your school’s CMS online orientation.
- Prepare your web browser. Be sure that your browser meets your school’s minimum requirements. Next, turn off pop-up blocker technology. Some CMS systems will not function as they should with pop-up blockers turned on. Finally set your browser to accept all cookies. Check with your school about the specific requirements they have established.
- Refine your word processing skills. If you are unfamiliar with Microsoft Word, the standard word processing program in education, purchase and practice with it before your online class starts. Such software will help you write papers and prepare emails.Microsoft Word is part of Microsoft Office and is available for a significantly reduced price in a student edition. You can find this special student edition at your campus bookstore, office supply stores, big box retailers and online.
- Read all introductory information sent to your school. Instructors will send you important course-related information via email. Please check your email on a regular basis and follow the preparation steps.
- Read your class syllabus. Get informed about the class objectives, types of readings, assignment requirements, and more in your class syllabus.
- Buy your course books online or in a bookstore. To make sure that you have your course books available when the course starts, buy your books early.
- Set goals and priorities for the class. Goals lead you to success because they give you direction and energy to overcome barriers, such as time constraints. Learn more about goals and priorities.
- Plan out your personal learning schedule. Effective time management is a key factor for success. Creating a study schedule will ensure that you reach your course goals.
- Get help. Most schools offer resources to ensure that you will have a good start with your online classes.