Module 4: Getting Started Online

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Module 4: Getting Started Online

This module will go over what tools you need to be successful and college ready ONLINE. Keep your notes going!

To help with a smoother transition, let’s start with understanding some of the differences between high school and college.

In high school, you will usually be told what to do and corrected if your behavior is out of line, but in college, you are expected to take responsibility for what you do and don’t do.

In high school, teachers may initiate contact with you, while in college, you will need to initiate contact with instructors.

In high school, teachers may give notes if you missed class or provide you with assignments and an extended due date. In college, instructors expect you to be prepared for class even when you have missed class.

In high school, you may study 2-8 hours a week. But in college, you should average 2-3 hours outside of class for every 1 hour in class. You may have to study even more than this for online classes.

In high school, you will usually be told in class what you need to learn from assigned readings. In college, it is up to you to read and understand the assigned material; lecture and assignments proceed from the assumption that you’ve already done so.

In high school, teachers frequently rearrange test dates to avoid conflict with school events. In college, instructors in different courses usually schedule tests at their discretion.

In high school, consistently good homework grades may raise your overall grade when test grades are low. But in college, grades on tests and major papers usually provide most of the course grade.

In college, you will have higher expectations, but nobody is going to force you to succeed. Do you know what you need?

Do you need health resources? (Like counseling, access to food, sleep, exercise)

Do you need Study resources? (Such as tutoring, help with time management, more information about an assignment)

Do you need Fun resources? (Academic and social clubs, sports, special events)

We will go over resources in more detail in another module, but If you need help, you should reach out to your high school counselor, advisor, dual credit coordinator or instructor.

Your primary online resources at Dallas College are eCampus and eConnect

eConnect is for administration—It’s like your online student services center. eCampus is your online classroom and where you view detailed course information.

You will use eConnect to complete your admissions application, review your TSI testing information, select your program of study, and keep track of your completed courses on your advising report. This is where you will update student information such as your email address, physical address, and phone number. It is important you set up your eConnect with the same email address you listed on your admission application. This is also where you will request a transcript.

eCampus is where you view announcements from your professor, course syllabi and view your personal calendar (which can sync with your phone) that includes assignments, due dates, and tests. Need to know how you’re doing in your classes? Click on the “My Grades” link in eCampus. This is also where you will find chat rooms to collaborate with classmates, virtual tutoring and library resources.

Other things to remember… Dual Credit students cannot register or drop themselves — though you may see this option on your eConnect.

And be sure to memorize both your Dallas College student ID number and your eConnect username and password.

On to textbooks & Learning Materials!

Students should contact their high school counselor for details on where to get their dual credit textbooks. 

Some high schools provide dual credit textbooks to the students, particularly if the courses are offered at the high school.

If your high school does not provide your textbooks, contact your college Dual Credit office for more information on what textbooks you need and where to order them. 

As a college student you will need to be familiar with a syllabus. A syllabus is an outline of information about the college course you are taking and what your professor uses to set the course expectations.

Let’s discuss Traditional Classes vs Online Classes?

In a traditional class you can expect to:

  • Go to class on specific days at specific times
  • Work through the chapters in a textbook
  • Meet with your instructor in class and listen they over class material, explain concepts and answer questions
  • Visit with your instructor face-to-face
  • Complete some assignments in the classroom

In an online class you can expect to:

  • Log in everyday (including on weekends)
  • Learn by reading and interacting with online instructional materials
  • Take part in online activities with other students
  • Follow a schedule of what you need to do each week
  • Be responsible for creating a plan of how you will use your time throughout the week
  • Complete all your assignments electronically — normally that means producing a text document, but it could include using a cell phone to create video or take photos
  • Contact your instructor primarily by email

Before your online class starts, check that you have the right technology.

Suitable devices are:

  • A Windows desktop computer or laptop running Windows 10 or later operating system.
  • An Apple desktop computer or laptop running OS X 10.8 or later operating system.

A Chromebook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer may not be suitable for some activities. If you intend to use one of these devices, please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop device that uses the Windows or OS X operating system in case you are unable to carry out all activities on your device.

To be able to talk and listen in online discussions, we recommend both a microphone and speakers/headphones. Please note that devices with small screens may make it difficult to view the material in your classes and carry out some activities.

The basic technical skills you should know for most online classes are:

  • Use an internet browser (Firefox, Chrome, etc.)
  • Use an online search engine (Google, Bing, etc.)
  • Send and receive email
  • Download and upload files
  • Find files on your hard drive
  • Take a screenshot
  • Use a word processor that can save files in the .doc or .docx format (such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs)

All Dallas College students can use Microsoft Office 365 for free, including Microsoft Word on the web.

The instructor's contact information can be found in your course syllabus. Make a note of your instructor's email address, so you have it in case you need to reach out to them.

Contact your instructor whenever you need to — there is no such thing as a dumb question!

Remember, your instructor is there to help you:

  • Understand a difficult concept in the materials
  • Complete an assignment because you're not sure what to do
  • Catch up if you fall behind
  • Need to request an extension

Before the class begins...

  • Make a plan & read the syllabus.
  • Make sure you have the right technology. 
  • And make sure you understand the difference between a high school class, a traditional college class, and an online college class.

When class begins...

  • Login in to eCampus and access your class. 
  • Send your instructor an email to introduce yourself.
  • Check for course announcements.
  • Access your learning materials. 
  • Make a to-do list for each week. 

Before the semester begins you are going to want to make a study plan, but for online classes, it may look different

  • For a 16-week online class, plan to spend between six and nine hours studying for that class each week.
  • For an eight-week online class, plan to spend 12-18 hours studying that class each week.
  • Plan multiple study sessions throughout the week, lasting approximately one or two hours based on when assignments are due.

Here’s an example for a student starting an eight-week PSYC2301 course:

  • The plan is to study from 8am-19am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and in the evening at either 6-8pm or 8-10pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • They will study in the afternoon from 3-5pm on the weekends, and also from 6-8pm on Sundays. 
  • Notes are also included for when a discussion board is due (every Tuesday) and when assignments are due (every Sunday).

While college classes are fun and enlightening, you must change to a college-focused mindset to be successful.

Because as a Dual Credit college student, you are expected to meet college expectations in and outside of the classroom. 

For more information on getting started with online classes, visit the Dallas College website.

Module 4 Questions

Please watch the video above before proceeding.