What is Online Learning?
Online education provides a rich learning experience that is not limited by time or location. The online environment is a convenient way to fit education into a busy life and still reach academic and career goals.
Because you and your classmates share common interests and learning goals, you can help each other by sharing information, experiences, and advice. To this end, participation and discussion are the key to your success. Throughout your courses, you will have ongoing, individual and group dialogues, you will receive personalized instructor feedback, and you will share insights and information with your classmates.
Most online courses are conducted according to a schedule, and there are usually no face-to-face classes to attend. Instead, coursework, assignments, questions, and discussion all take place at your convenience. You select the hour of day (or night) to attend class. You pick the place - at home, at work, or elsewhere - as long as you adhere to the course schedule of deadlines.
In the online environment, distinguishing characteristics such as age, dress, physical appearance, disabilities, race, and gender are largely absent. Instead, the class focuses on the course subject matter and on thoughtful and intelligent analysis and discussion.
Palloff and Pratt, in Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace: Effective Strategies for the Online Classroom (1999), confirm a growing consensus in distance learning that the role of the instructor should be one of facilitator. Do not panic if you do not see comments from your instructor for every posting. The instructor's role is to help promote and encourage your learning by offering suggestions, insights, and guidance.
Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln