The advent of the Internet and inexpensive home computers have given Adams University the opportunity to deliver college level content through the mediation of these new technologies. It is no longer necessary to live near or on campus in order to gain the many of the benefits of a college education. Nor are students required to be at a particular place at a given time. Consequently, many students that were unable to attend classes at a university due to employment or family responsibilities can now obtain a quality education while sitting in front of a computer in the comfort of their own homes.
In an online class, students receive and in most cases transmit their assignments over the Internet. Taking an online class is very similar to doing an independent study in the traditional college setting. Students work largely on their own, but some interaction with fellow students and instructors is often required. These interactions take place through the use of email, electronic bulletin boards, and real-time chats. Students can contact their instructor by email, or by phone if they have questions or are in need of additional assistance. Some online instructors may require that one or more of the major exams be taken in the presence of a third party (i.e., an exam proctor). In these cases, the exam would be mailed to the exam proctor, administered to the student, and then returned to the course instructor for grading.
Online courses usually have textbooks (purchased through the university bookstore) with required readings such as in a traditional class. In a synchronous online course, assignments are due at scheduled dates as specified in the course syllabus and all the students progress through the course together. in asynchronous courses, students proceed through the courses independently with only the constraint of a final completion date. Whether the online course is synchronous or asynchronous, the student has greater flexibility than in a traditional classroom.
This is not to suggest that the traditional college experience is totally without merit. To the contrary, there is no substitute for the life-long interpersonal relationships developed by a student living and attending classes at a traditional college or university. Face to face interactions between students and with their professors can never be duplicated over a telephone line no matter how advanced the technology. The opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities like campus clubs, and regular conversation between students have no exact technological equivalents. Many student do not choose the online education alone, but often incorporate online learning with traditional classroom instruction. That is, many students choose the best of both worlds by living on campus and taking some classes in the traditional method while simultaneously taking one or two classes via online learning.
Before a student registers for any online course, they should examine their own personal preferences and work habits. Ask yourself these questions, are you are self-motivated? Do you like working on your own? Do you easily complete your assignments on time? If you answered yes to these questions you will probably do well with online learning. If not, then you probably need the environment of a traditional classroom to be successful.
Most online content at Adams University makes use of an online management system. In metaphorical terms, a management system is an envelope in which an online course is developed, administered, and delivered. Students taking their first online course will want to spend some time learning to navigate around a course. Consequently, all students are required to complete a brief introduction (i.e., the Online Orientation) before they are allowed to begin their first online class.
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