The main difference between face-to-face (F2F) learning and learning remotely or online is the amount of independent study that is required. Being self-directed or developing an independent learning mindset1, is critical to your success as an online learner.
Where F2F learning tends to be teacher-centered and/or lecture-driven, online learning is more learning-centered and learner-driven. As an online learner, you will find that you have the flexibility to learn where you want and when you want but this does not mean that there will be less work to do. In fact, the workload in an online course might demand more of your time. While you may not be expected to physically attend a lecture, you will still be required to actively participate.
The success of an online class depends on the level of commitment made by each member of the class. Research shows that the most successful online classes have well established learning communities -- groups of students who actively participate with the content and with each other. The strength of the learning community within each online class depends on the level of active participation by its members. This means being prepared to contribute by
Learning to work independently can be challenging to start, but as many seasoned online learners report, learning remotely can be rewarding as it affords a level of learner autonomy and active engagement not customarily found in F2F classes. This can make the experience both meaningful and worthwhile. Learning to work independently means developing,
To prepare for a term of remote learning, it's important to know what to expect of an online class. If you're unsure about learning at a distance, the following video will help you understand what to expect and dispel some common misconceptions. Watch the video, and then complete the quiz question that follows.
Video Quiz Question
Being self-directed, or developing an independent learning mindset, is probably the most important skill you can develop as an online learner. So far, your experiences as a student have likely been in a teacher-centered learning environment. In this setting, you’ve been able to depend on the teacher to provide you with the help you need and to remind you about upcoming assignments. In the online learning environment, however, the onus shifts to you, the learner, to do the readings and watch the videos in order to contribute to the discussion forums and group assignments. The instructor is still present but only as a guide to provide the learning materials and guidance you need in order to meet the learning outcomes of the course and your own personal learning goals.
This short interactive video introduces three important ways to successfully manage your online course and become more self-directed in your learning. Complete the quiz at each interval in the video.
Video Quiz Question
A word taken from our Academic Integrity Tutorial:
"Academic Integrity is a cornerstone of all the work you will do at university. The International Centre for Academic Integrity proposes six core values to help guide your work, ensuring that it is fair and honest and received in good faith. These core values [honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility and courage] provide an important foundation for the learning you will do and for the fair assessment of the work you produce."
In a remote or online class, having integrity means following the same rules you would if you were in a face-to-face class. This means not seeking to gain an unfair advantage over others. Follow all assignment, quiz and exam instructions carefully. Note, that all information your access from elsewhere and all collaborative work you engage in must be acknowledged with citations. If unsure, always contact your instructor to seek clarification.
To learn more about the values associated with academic integrity, visit the Academic Integrity webpage, but before you do, complete the tutorial.
1. The ideas about being self directed and developing an independent learning mindset are adapted from Learning to Learn Online by Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.