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Choosing the Right Online Course

It is very important that you select an online course that fits into your program of study and for which you are well prepared. Online students have access to the same services as on-campus students. Check with advising and counseling before selecting courses. You may also want to check with the department and professor offering the course to ensure that you have the necessary knowledge for success.

An online student working on a computer

Identify Course Requirements

Once you are registered for an online class, be sure to look for the following information:

  • What textbook and other materials do I need?
  • Do I need any special hardware or software, and how can I acquire and install it?
  • What is my course schedule? When are my tasks and assignments due?
  • What are the expectations for participation, such as posting to discussion boards? What are the criteria for a high-quality post? Look for a rubric, if provided.
  • Are there any live (synchronous) sessions? If so, when are they?
  • How does my professor prefer that you communicate with him or her?
  • What sort of turn-around time can I expect on email messages and assignment feedback?
  • Will I be required to come to a campus for any class meetings or testing? When and which campus?
  • Where can I get help with my classes or materials?
  • How long will it take me to prepare for my course?

Look for Supports & Resources

There are several places to look for the answers.

  • Course Syllabus. You will find important course policies and other information for which you are responsible.
  • Starfish. Starfish is your connection to all the services here at CCRI and your instructors.
  • Your CCRI email. CCRI email is the official method of communication. You need to check it regularly (it can be set up to go to your phone).
  • Announcements in the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS).
  • A course calendar or schedule.

If you have checked all of the above and can't find what you're looking for, contact the instructor using their preferred method.

Also, identify out-of-class resources. Identify and plan for incorporating the resources available to you such as discussing feedback with your instructor, finding a study partner in the class, or making a potential professional contact.

Next, let's take a self-assessment that will help us understand what an online course requires.