Preparing for Distance Learning: Designing An Online Student Orientation Course
The client identified specific problem areas encountered by novice students of online courses and the team designed a comprehensive program to meet those needs. Analysis of the data revealed surprising differences in expectations between instructors of online courses and their students of what an orientation to online learning should include. The team also conducted a task analysis to aid in further identifying the skills, knowledge and attitudes required by students for success in online courses. Findings indicated that there is a need for online learners to understand the time commitment required of an online course and possess or develop strong time management skills. Because of small sample size, results cannot be generalized beyond the respondents. The authors found a mismatch in the perception of instructor technical skills versus student technical skill. Based on their findings, the paper provides recommendations on the appropriate design, development and implementation of an orientation to online learning.