Thursday, September 6, 2012

Benefits of Online Learning

Go to class anytime, anywhere...
If you ask most students why they choose to learn online, the most common response you'll get is, "It's just more convenient." While "brick and mortar" institutions will never be eliminated, it's easy to see why a growing number of people are attending class in the cyber world. They may be reasons of accessibility, flexibility or quality, all compelling and contributing to the attractiveness of this mode of learning.

But the benefits of online learning go beyond mere convenience. In fact, you may find the online environment is more conducive to your individual learning style. If you are a motivated self-starter who enjoys online interaction through social media sites, email, and other interactive means, you may find that online learning is the right fit for you.

Current DE101 Orientation Classes

2012 Dates for DE101 (Online Learning Orientation)
  • The next available DE101 Orientation class is September 9th thru 23rd - there is still time to sign up for this class
  • October 8th thru 21st
  • November 5th thru 18th
Please check back to see if additional orientation dates are provided.

How to register for the FREE Online Learning Orientation
Send an email to the online learning advisor,, and let him know which date you plan to attend. Please include in your email the following information:
  • Your First and Last Name
  • Your Student ID number
Barry Tucker
Advisor for Online Learners

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


This ring of Coast Redwoods Sequoia sempervire...Image via Wikipedia

This is the blog of the College of the Redwoods Distance Education Department. We will use this blog as yet another means to pass on information about online learning at College of the Redwoods, workshops and orientations for students, and study tips for online and face-to-face students. We will also be featuring polls and and surveys here to help us learn more about you and your needs as a student.

We would also like to use this blog to promote some of the tools that are available to you via Google Apps and other free web 2.0 tools to help you communicate, collaborate with other students and keep all the information you need to manage for work and school organized.
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Register for College of the Redwoods Spring Semester 2012 classes!

Upcoming Class Offerings for Spring 2012
at College of the Redwoods
  • New Student registration begins Monday, Nov 21, 2011
  • Visit CR's WebAdvisor now to register for classes. Click on Web Advisor to register … and pay for classes
  • You can also go to and search for Financial Aid
  • CR Admissions and Records for Eureka main campus (707) 476-4200. Spring Semester begins January 14, 2012

Starting Online Courses for Spring 2012?

This information was previously posted on this blog but is still pertinent for those students taking online classes in the Spring 2012 semester. The seven factors below are some of the considerations you may want to keep in mind as you take online classes.

1. Time Management
This is very important in online courses; be sure to download the course calendar and keep it near your computer. Keep "to-do" lists and take advantage of any calendar and alarm functions on your phone or computer. Take some time to develop a system. Students tend to take online classes because they want to take advantage of the flexibility it gives their schedule.

2. Academic Rigor
Often, students new to online classes expect them to be easier some how. Classes online are just as academically rigorous as face-to-face. Online classes require the same amount of effort as traditional courses; the convenience is that you can select (to an extent) when you show up in the course environment. They may require a little more for some students as they learn the technology. Online courses can rely heavily on reading assignments, written lecture, and written communication in groups. If you learn best by reading, then you have an advantage in an online environment.

3. Communication Skills
Online classes are primarily text-based environments. Communicating online lacks the visual cues we are all use to in conversations; be specific when you ask questions and don't assume that someone else can tell when you are joking. Remember to take a few moments to check spelling and grammar, as this it will affect the impression you create with your peers and instructor.

4. Technology Skills
You do not have to be an expert in technology to be successful in an online class. You should be comfortable navigating the internet, using email, and attaching documents to email. Technology skills are not a barrier to your success: just as you learned how to be a face-to-face student, you can learn to be an online student. Be sure to check out the minimum technology requirements recommended by your school's distance education department. As you take online classes you will become more comfortable with online technology. You can't "break" anything in your online class. Go ahead and click all the buttons and get use to the environment. Take the time to find out what kind of tech support is available to you and keep that information handy.

5. Online Learning is a Social Environment
Participate in your class. Online learning is about connections you will make with your instructor, your fellow students and the course content. Take some time to read about your instructor in the faculty area, and be sure to ask for a face-to-face office hour if you feel you aren't getting the information you need in the online environment. Your instructor wants you to do well, and will be happy to give you the extra contact you need if you let him/her know -- just because you can't "see" your instructor doesn't mean they aren't available to you. Be sure to give some extra effort to all the group activities, discussion forums, or social lounges offered in the course.

6. Critical Thinking Skills
The same kind of critical thinking skills that are required in paper-based research is required online. You will need to remember that not all sources on the internet are equal as far as academic credibility is concerned. The same citation questions for paper-based research apply online: what are the author's credentials? What is the author's purpose in writing? Is the author an expert in his or her field? Remember that as an online student, you have access to a librarian for guidance by phone or email. Consult your college webpage for the reference librarian's contact information. Your college may even have a librarian that specializes in online learning or internet research.

7. Motivation
The same kinds of habits that you developed to be a successful face-to-face student are also required in online learning. Online learning requires a little more discipline. They tend not to be self-paced classes and participation can be a major factor in your success as an online student. As an online student, you will need to check in with your class at least three times a week and take time to do your assignments completely and thoughtfully. Ask questions if you do not understand an assignment. Go into the discussion forums and see if there are students forming study groups (or form one yourself). Remind yourself why you are taking classes online and keep fixed on your goals.

By keeping in mind these seven factors, any student can successfully take online courses.

Top 10 Reasons for Learning Online at College of the Redwoods

1. You can attend class anytime, anywhere you have Web access. This means that parents can attend to their children, then sit down to class; working students can attend classes no matter what their work schedule might be, people who travel for business or pleasure can attend class from anywhere in the world that has internet access.

2. You can access course materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Students have the ability to read and re read lectures, discussions, explanations and comments. Often spoken material in the classroom passes students by due to a number of distractions, missed classes, tiredness or boredom.

3. Online learning enables student-centered teaching approaches. Every student has their own way of learning that works best for them. Some learn visually while others do better when they “learn by doing.” Also, students who have disabilities that make it difficult to travel, sit, walk, stand, climb stairs, hear or see may find learning online fits their needs.

4. You’ll enhance your ability to communicate effectively through the latest technology that will be critical to workers in the 21st century business community that works with colleagues globally and across time zones.

5. You’ll network with classmates from a wide range of backgrounds and locations. Students often feel that they can actually listen to the comments made by other students. Because everyone gets a chance to contribute, students are less irritated with those that “over contribute” and can ask for clarification of any comments that are unclear.

6. You can access instructors through chat, discussion forums, or email, without having to wait for office hours. Many students feel this makes instructors more approachable.

7. Online classrooms also facilitate team learning by providing chatrooms and webconferencing groups for meetings and joint work. This eliminates the problems of mismatched schedules, finding a meeting location and distributing work for review between class meetings.

8. Effectiveness may help you get higher grades. Online education is effective. A 2009 meta-study from the Department of Education found that students taking online courses outperformed their peers in traditional classrooms. Because you can learn at your own pace—taking more time to read, review, discuss—you may get higher grades.

9. You’ll learn innovative strategies for virtual teamwork by using electronic communication to interact with a group. Employers highly value this skill.

10. You’ll benefit from a flexible schedule, which is extremely helpful if you’re balancing your education with work and family life.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Khan Academy Offers Over 1800 Free Online Academic Videos

Watch, Practice, Learn Almost Anything for Free

With the stated mission “of providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere”, Khan Academy makes available over 2600 videos on the topics of math, science, history, and finance. Each instructional video is anwhere from 10-20 minutes in length. Math is currently covered the most extensively, topics suitable for K-12, but creator Salman Khan says his goal is to eventually cover everything.

Khan Academy web site

PBS NewsHour piece on Khan Academy

Khan Academy, with Khan as the only teacher, appears on YouTube and elsewhere and is by any measure the most popular educational site on the web.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Having Problems Online?

Students have a number of options for help with their online courses. A good place to start is the new help portal AskCR.

The new support portal will help you ask questions of college representatives in Admissions & Records, Financial Aid, Advising, Special Programs, Distance Education, Technology Services, and Maintenance.

The support site provides two different methods for getting assistance.

1. Knowledge Base for self-service searches. It currently has over 200 articles with more being added every week. Please return frequently to see what is new. Though you can access many articles without logging in to the system, there are a number of articles that are not available to the public.

2. Request Support or Enter a Work Order for individual service. To get individualized service, you click on the Ask CR link (purple ticket with a question mark). This will take you to a log-in screen. All students log-in with their CR issued email address and the initial password is your five or six digit birthdate. Please fill out all fields to get the quickest response.

Example of Log-in:
101584 (birthdate of October 15, 1984)

If your log-in does not work, please contact our Help Desk at 707.476.4160 to verify your account settings. Having your seven digit Student ID Number and other confirming information ready will help to expedite the process.