Why take an online course?
Online courses provide an opportunity for self-directed, dedicated students to take classes outside of the traditional classroom. There are many reasons why a student would choose to take an online course. Online courses can:
• eliminate your traveling time saving you time and money.
• give you the option of completing your assignments when you have the time.
• create flexibility in your schedule allowing you to take two courses that might be offered at the same time.
• enable you to work around family or work obligations while taking a course.
• allow you to experience learning in a less structured environment such as you will experience in your job or other areas of life.
• help you to develop a level of personal responsibility and time management that may not be possible in a traditional classroom.
• improve your computer skills that can maximize your career opportunities.
Who should take an online course?
Online courses are not for everyone. There is a high level of social interaction in an online course, but it is not the same as being in a classroom on campus. Although they are more convenient and flexible, online courses are not easier than traditional courses. In an online course, the student must be an active participant and must be willing to communicate frequently with the instructor and with other students in order to succeed. Online courses, like traditional courses can involve reading articles, writing papers, class discussions, taking tests, solving problems, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and researching data. Online students must be able to stay on task without direct supervision and should possess the following skills: self-motivation and determination, computer literacy, good reading comprehension, good communication and writing skills, the ability to follow directions, and the willingness to meet deadlines.
What skills do I need to take an online course?
In order to be successful in an online course, you must have certain technical skills before beginning the course. You must be able to:
• navigate web pages
• download files from web pages
• upload documents
• send and receive email
• attach a file to an email message
• open an email attachment
• use a browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox
• perform basic word processing functions using Microsoft Office
• post messages on a discussion board
• download and install computer software
• print documents
What should I do to determine if I am ready to take an online course?
Before registering for an online course, it is highly recommended that you take the readiness assessment that has been designed to help you to determine if you are ready to take an online course. This assessment can be found at http://distance.necc.mass.edu/prospective/readiness.html
It is highly recommended that you complete this Readiness Survey along with your advisor at the time of registration to ensure that you are adequately prepared to be successful in an online course.
In addition to technical skills, there are other requirements that must be met. The student must have reliable and consistent access to a computer with Internet access, a Harcum email account, and the appropriate computer software (please note that tablets such as iPads will not provide full access to and functionality in an online course). A high-speed Internet connection is best, but it is not absolutely necessary.
What are the minimum technical requirements needed for an online course?
In all cases, the latest versions of software and operating systems, and high-speed (broadband) internet connections are recommended and will offer the optimum performance of WebStudy. Listed below are minimum requirements.
Minimum Recommended basic hardware and software for Mac and PC users:
• Pentium 3 processor with Windows 2000 or newer (Windows 7 preferred)
• Mac computer with dual processor compatible with Flash player
• OS X or later
• 256 Megabytes of RAM or more (recommended)
• audio card with speakers
• Display with at least 800x600 pixels
• CD-ROM drive
• Online Internet Service Provider required (56k modem or faster connection)
• Latest available versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera
• Flash Player (current version required)
• Windows Media Player (most recent version)
• Word processing software that can save files in Word or RTF (Microsoft Word highly recommended)
• Depending on your course, you may need other programs such as Adobe Acrobat Reader or a viewer for PowerPoint. These free plug-ins are available by visiting WebStudy’s home page under ‘Download Plugins’.
Online students must have a backup plan in the event their computer or Internet service fails. Computer malfunction is not accepted as an excuse for late work. All course work should be saved on the student’s computer and on a separate disk or flash drive. Online students must be able to devote 8-12 hours (online and offline) per week to the course.
How is attendance handled on an online course?
Individual course attendance policies will vary, but are posted clearly on each course website and in each course syllabus. In general, you are expected to login to the course website a minimum of three-to-five times per week.
If you have not logged into your course website and actively participated in the course and/or contacted the instructor of the course within the first two weeks of the course, by College policy, you will be administratively dropped from the course by the Office of Student Records.
How do I register for an online course?
If your readiness assessment indicates you are ready to take an online course, you now should complete the following steps:
First, consult with your advisor and determine the course you want to take and see if any prerequisites are required. If you have the prerequisites, or none are required, you now want to register for the course.
You must contact your advisor, program director or the registrar in order to register for the course. Register early, so you can download any required software or purchase any required books before the class begins. In most online classes, you will not be able to make up work because you did not log in to the course on time, had technical problems, or did not purchase the required textbook.
Immediately after registration, contact your instructor through Harcum College email in case specific instructions are needed for the course.
Failure to actively participate in an online course will result in your being administratively dropped from the course up through the end of the drop/add period. See below for advice on actions required for late registration in an online course.
How do I order books for an online course?
Books can be ordered through the Harcum bookstore or other sources as
long as they have the same ISBN number as provided by the College.
required textbooks including ISBN number for your course can be
identified and purchased by going to the following Harcum College
bookstore website: http://bookstore.mbsdirect.net/harcum.htm
Make sure you select the appropriate internet section for your course.
reaching the website, click on the upper left blue tab containing the
words Order my books. Follow the instructions carefully to order the
correct text. If you did not register early, you might need to pay for
overnight delivery in order to have your textbook for the start of
How do I log on to my online course?
After selecting a course and completing the registration requirements with your advisor, you can access WebStudy via the Harcum Portal. Follow the directions found here
What do I do once I have successfully logged on to my course website?
Be sure to check the course website for course-specific information regarding any required class orientation meetings, materials or other course overview information.
Once you have successfully logged into WebStudy, use the Select course menu found in the upper right corner of your screen to locate and select your course. Students who are new to online learning, or who have never used WebStudy to take a course, must begin with the Orientation Module before starting their regular course. If you have completed this module for a previous online course, or you have taken other courses using WebStudy, the orientation module is not necessary, but can certainly be taken as a refresher. You must notify your instructor if you do not need to complete the Orientation Module. Upon completing the Orientation Module, be sure to send the WebStudy Orientation Completion Form to your instructor via WebStudy email.
You should now go to your course homepage to see if the instructor has provided any additional information that might be needed before starting the course.
After gathering all of the necessary information for your course, you should return to the WebStudy login page. On this page, you will see several links on the right side of the page. If you click on the one marked Download Plugins, you will be able to download free software that you might need on your computer. The link marked Request WebStudy Support allows you to fill out a form requesting technical support if you are having any problems with the WebStudy program. You can also call WebStudy Support 24/7 at 888-326-4058, Option 3 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org . There is also a link for AOL Users and one for WebStudy Success Strategies.
What happens if I register late for an online course or have not logged on by the first day of classes?
If you register for an online course after the first day of classes, you should contact your instructor immediately to inform him or her that you are registered for the course.
You should immediately take steps to obtain textbooks and required course materials.
You should immediately complete the WebStudy orientation course to familiarize yourself with WebStudy and how to complete the tasks necessary to succeed in an online course.
You should immediately determine what you need to do to catch up to the rest of the class. Falling behind in an online class can often put you at a severe disadvantage.
Depending on instructor and/or course requirements, students who logon late to an online course website for any reason - including delayed logins, technical problems, or not having the required textbooks - may not be able to make up missed work.
• You should consult the online course make up policy in the syllabus and on the course website for students who join an online course after the start of classes.
• The official Harcum College online course make-up policy for students entering class late for any reason reads as follows:
o Students are responsible to make-up all missed work within the same amount of time that they missed from class.
Example – If a student is added to the class 5 days after the start of classes, the student has 5 days after the add date to complete all missed work.
o There will be no extensions of time to complete missed coursework for a student who does not attend class(es) as of the day they are added.
What do I need to do to be successful in an online course?
• In order to be successful in your online course, you should:
• Log in to your course a minimum of four times a week. Some instructors may require you to login more often. The instructor may have posted important messages or assignment changes.
• Pay attention to course due dates and course announcements – you may be required to complete work over the weekend.
• Read and carefully follow all directions. Use a checklist made from the directions to double-check your work.
• Use all available resources in addition to your textbook. These can include PowerPoint presentations, external websites, videos, audios, and tutoring centers.
• Do not procrastinate. Once you fall behind in an online course it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to catch up.
• Manage your time efficiently. Pay attention to course deadlines and plan time in your schedule for meeting course deadlines. Don’t underestimate the amount of time you need to complete the course work. You should allot 12-15 hours a week per online course.
• Participate regularly and responsibly in all class discussions.
• Communicate with your instructor whenever necessary. He or she is there to help you.
• Add your last name to all assignments that you submit.
• Back up all of your work. Save it on your computer and to a separate disk or flash drive.