Ready? Set. GO!
Congratulations! You are on your way to a flexible and exciting approach to your education. However, eLearning courses are different from traditional face-to-face classes. If you are new to the online learning experience or just need a refresher, we have made the following resources available to help you succeed. Preparing yourself prior to the term will aid in a smoother start in your eLearning course. Should you need further assistance, multiple support options are available at Clark College.
Before the Term Begins
Even if this isn't your first online course, it is a good idea to know your strengths and weaknesses and brush up on what it takes to be a successful online student.
Need a Computer?
For more information about our computer lending program, please contact our TechHub Desk at (360) 992-2010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure your computer and internet are compatible with your online or hybrid course.
Complete an Orientation to Canvas
Before beginning your online or hybrid course, we recommend that you become familiar with the Canvas Learning Management System. Online, self-paced orientation options are available along with video tutorials, a blog, and a Twitter alert system.
Determine your Canvas Username and Password
As a registered student, you can learn about your Canvas login information in the "Logging into Canvas" area of the Clark Canvas site. Log into your Canvas account prior to the first day of the term to make sure you are successful. Contact the TechHub for technical assistance. Please note: Some courses may be available early, but most courses will not open until the first day of the term.
Activate your Student Email Account
Not only is your Canvas account tied to your student email account, your student email is where many other important Clark College communications are sent. Make sure you are checking it regularly or have it forwarding to your primary email account.
Creating A Study Area
Before the term begins, consider the amount of time necessary to be successful in your classes. Ensure that you have a dependable, quiet space, free from distractions, to complete your work. High-speed Internet access is always a benefit. Many students prefer a consistent routine and daily schedule for homework and other course tasks.
Check your Waitlist Status
If you are on a waitlist for a class you will not have access to it in Canvas until you are fully registered for the course. Waitlists end prior to the start of the term so if you have not been fully registered by that time you will need to contact the instructor regarding permission to register. Online courses are very popular; therefore, plan ahead by being aware of Registration dates and registering as early as possible.
Get your Textbooks
It is recommended that you purchase your textbooks prior to the start of the term. All course textbooks are available online at the Clark College Bookstore. While there are many textbook suppliers, it is very important that you order the same title and edition indicated on the Clark College Bookstore website and course syllabus. Some courses are adopting Open Educational Resources (OER) that are little or no cost to students. Be sure to communicate with your Professor in case an alternative printed copy or digital copy is optional.
Pay your Tuition
Make sure you pay your tuition by the deadline to avoid being dropped from the course. If you are utilizing Financial Aid, it is important that all forms are completed and submitted properly prior to tuition payment deadlines. Pay close attention to any notifications from Financial Aid and be in touch with the Financial Aid department if you have any questions.
Determine your Backup Plan
Technology, like everything else in life, is not perfect. Things happen. For example, your Internet connection goes down, your computer crashes, or the power goes out. It is a good idea to have a backup plan in place in case something happens. While some Professors can be flexible if something goes wrong, a failure in technology may not be a viable excuse for delays in getting your work completed. We recommend the following steps to protect yourself:
- Make sure you are completing your work in a timely manner. The less time you give yourself to do something, the less time you have to troubleshoot anything that may go wrong.
- Arrange with a friend or family member to be able to use their computer if yours stops working. Ensure at the beginning of the term that their computer has all of the software and Internet access you need for your courses.
- Be aware of the Clark College Computer Lab hours and locations in case you need to come to campus to finish your work.
- Always keep copies of your work. From assignments to discussion posts, it's a good idea to keep a separate file with a backup of all of your work in case something happens and you need to prove you did the work.
First Day of the Term
The first day of the term is considered your first day of class for all online and hybrid courses. You will need to log into Canvas on that day and complete any preliminary assignments your instructor may have for you. If you do not log in by that day, it is the same as not showing up to the first day of an in-person class. The Professor may drop you for non-attendance especially if there are other students waiting to get into the course.
As you begin the first day of your class, keep the following in mind:
- If you log into Canvas and don't see a course listed, be aware that Professors have
until 8 a.m. on the first day of the term to make the course available to you. If
you do not see the class after that time, complete the following steps:
- Verify that you are in fact registered for the course through your MyClark account.
- Email your Professor and let them know you are looking for the course.
- Keep checking Canvas and your email for a response from the Professor.
- It is a good idea to log into your course earlier in the day. If you wait until late at night there may not be anyone available to assist you if you run into difficulties.
- If you are unable to log into Canvas until later or not at all on the first day of the term ALWAYS communicate this with your Professor via email ahead of time.
- Once you have logged into Canvas, spend some time to become familiar with each of
- Find each course syllabus and read them thoroughly.
- Get familiar with how your Professor has designed the class. Just like a traditional in-person class, each online class is going to be unique depending on the Professor and the content.
- Find any introductory assignments that your Professor may have for you to complete at the beginning of the first week.
- All online courses have at least one required assignment that must be completed during the first week; make sure you locate that assignment and can satisfactorily complete it by the submission deadline.
- IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR FINANCIAL AID RECIPIENTS: Students taking an online class or classes and receiving Financial Aid (grants and/or loans) are required to complete an academic activity in each online class the first week of the term. Students who do not complete the activity will jeopardize their funding. Please see the Financial Aid department for further information.
Throughout the Term
As the term progresses in your online course, it is a good idea to keep the following in mind for your continued success:
Manage your Time
Depending on how you learn, online courses may take more time for you to complete all of your work. The federal Department of Education defines each credit as requiring one (1) hour of "instruction" time and a minimum of two (2) hours of "homework time" per week. For example, a 5-credit course would involve five (5) hours of "instruction" and ten (10) hours of "homework," for a total of 15 hours per week. Be realistic about how much time you need to commit to your learning to be successful, then schedule accordingly.
Keep Track of Due Dates
Use your syllabus, course modules, and/or Canvas Calendar to keep track of what needs to be done when. Don't find yourself in the position of having missed an assignment because you didn't notice it was due.
There are a number of ways your Professor may send information about the course through Canvas. For example, the Canvas Inbox messaging system, Canvas announcements, Canvas notifications about due dates and assignment edits, the Canvas Calendar, and more. Use your Canvas account notification settings to ensure you are receiving relevant alerts in a timely manner.
Plan Ahead to Manage the Weekly Course Requirements
Some courses have all content available for you to view at any time, while other courses have modules available on a week-by-week basis. As soon as the next week's requirements are posted, study all items to identify the amount of time that will be required to complete the work. This strategy creates the opportunity for you to seek clarification and get assistance before the due date.
Regularly Communicate with your Professor
Since your Professor is not seeing you in person several times each week, they cannot tell if you are confused or having a problem unless you tell them. If you have questions, ask. If you are confused, seek clarification. The course syllabus should provide contact information and turn-around time when you can expect a response. Don't wait until the day something is due to identify your questions.
Utilize your Resources
Clark College offers many Student Success Resources to guide you in your continued success.