How an Online-Learning Course Works
Chat Sessions or Discussion Groups
Exams and Quizzes
Technology Required and Technical Support
Say you register for our Design and Analysis of Experiments
I course when it is offered in an online-learning format,
and that this is your first online-learning course at RIT.
Registration for a first course is best done on paper. Our
graduate coordinator will be pleased to fax or email you
a registration form. Future registrations can be done online,
using SIS (Student Information Services) at http://www.rit.edu/sis.
About two weeks before the course starts, you will be mailed
an orientation packet with information on how to access your
online course from the Office of Online Learning (http://online.rit.edu),
as well as an orientation CD that contains general software
for online courses. If you live outside the Rochester area,
you can order the CDs or other material for the course itself
directly from the RIT bookstore (http://bookstore.rit.edu),
along with the textbook, viewing guide, and other materials.
These would be mailed to you within two days. If you live
in the Rochester area, you can buy the materials in person
at the bookstore instead. The viewing guide, as well as reading
materials that may be required for the course, are also located
on the RIT library web site, http://wally.rit.edu/.
You could view these online materials using Adobe’s
free Acrobat Reader.
Acrobat Reader and other software are available on the orientation
CD, as well as on the RIT
Online Learning web site as free downloads.
It is best to register early to ensure that you will have
all course material available to you at the start of your
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is web-based software that allows the instructor to create
folders for each week of material, to send messages to all
students, and to create discussion areas. It also allows students
to "drop off" appropriate quizzes and exams. Finally,
it allows students and instructor to interact in chat sessions
as explained below.
Online courses, in addition to the textbooks, typically feature
CDs that are professionally prepared for online learners,
not simply captures of recent lectures. These are accompanied
by viewing guides, which are print-outs of some of the material
from the CDs. (DVD formats are still not standardized enough
for use in online learning.) However, because of continual
changes in technology, other methods of course delivery may
be used instead. Regardless of the method of delivery, the
course is designed to enhance student learning.
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Sessions or Discussion Groups
For some courses, you might engage in online chat sessions
with other students and the course instructor once each week.
Here, you would address as a group the aspects of the course
that may be particularly interesting or particularly difficult.
This emulates the type of discussion that would occur in a
live class situation. Topics may be open-ended, or may be
pre-selected by the instructor based on his or her experience.
The text of the chat sessions would be archived and placed
in a note folder available to all students in the class. These
online notes are available for later review, in case you are
unable to attend a session. This is a synchronous method for
Other courses may use discussion groups. A discussion group
consists of a subset of, or all, students who would discuss
or try to answer questions that either the instructor or they
themselves have posted. The instructor would “look in”
on occasion to ensure that the group was on a reasonable track.
This is an asynchronous method for online learning.
Instructors use what they believe is the best combination
of methods -- CDs, chat sessions, discussion groups,
and other readings -- to maximize the learning for
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Exams and quizzes might be posted online in myCourses or FirstClass.
In some courses, a proctor system would be established instead
of, or in addition to, the online features.
For online exams and quizzes, the test is posted at a specific
time and is due at a specified time. In some cases, the instructor
may grade the test online, to provide rapid feedback to enhance
the learning process.
With proctored exams, you would be required to find a proctor,
for example the person to whom you report, who would be willing
to supervise you during the examination process and to send
the completed exam back to RIT. RIT provides preaddressed
envelopes and postage for this work.
and Technical Support
To participate in online learning, you should have a computer
with high-speed Web access. You may be able to use a computer
at work, but a firewall at your company may prevent you from
doing this directly. See the Online
Learning web site for details.
RIT provides full-service support for its online-learning
students. In addition to convenient online ordering of course
materials, there is toll-free and online technical support
and student-services staff support, and online access to campus
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