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Technical Competencies for Distance Learning Classes

Before enrolling in an online course, you should be able to do the following:

  1.  Basic Computer Skills    
  2.  Word Processing Skills  
  3.  Online Course Expectations  
  4.  Online Course Expectations  

Basic Computer & Troubleshooting Skills

Although you don't need to be an expert with technology, you do need to be familiar with your computer system and be able to solve problems when they occur. Lack of the following skills will hinder your success in this online course.

Recommended Technology Skills
  • Search the Internet and World Wide Web using a Web browser efficiently and effectively
  • Know how to start and use computer applications such as a word processor and email with attachments
  • Understand netiquette
  • Basic file management
  • Evaluate sources found on the Internet for validity and reliability
  • Access library books and periodicals over the Internet
Hardware Requirements
  • PC MacIntosh Pentium III/300MHz processor G3/300+ MHz processor 128+ MB memory 128+ MB memory 56K or faster Internet connection 56K or faster Internet connection CD-ROM drive MAC OS 10.2 or higher CD-ROM drive Software Requirements
  • Current anti-virus software, updated weekly-at least
  • Current browser recommendations: Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer 8

Word Processing Skills

You should know how to use a word processing program to:
  • name documents
  • save documents
  • retrieve documents
  • enter and edit text
  • change text format and style
  • set margins, line spacing, and tabs
  • check spelling, grammar, word usage
  • insert page numbers, page breaks, or section breaks

Online Course Expectations

The design and management of your course will depend on the course demands and your instructor. Most courses, though, will consist of the following components. If you have trouble navigating your course, contact your instructor.
  • Assignments: You will have assignments designated for each week by date or topic. Your assignments may require reading, viewing, listening, writing, or completing activities. A course calendar may be included with assignment due dates.
  • Homework: Depending on your course, you may be asked to turn in homework through Blackboard's assignment link, via email, or post a discussion to one of the many forums.
  • Lectures: Online lectures may be in the form of video, audio, slideshows, and/or text.
  • Discussions: Your course may make use of journals, blogs, wikis, and/or discussion boards in which you post comments and replies for other students in the course.
  • Tests & Quizzes: Assessments my be timed or set to display at certain times in the course. While most tests are conducted online, your instructor may require that you visit the testing center on campus to complete your tests.
**If you need accommodations while learning online, please contact Disabilities Services and notify your instructor.

Grading and Feedback

  • Most instructors respond to your emails and messages within 24 hours, Monday through Friday. Although some instructors respond over weekends and holidays, you cannot be guaranteed a response during these times.
  • Some assignments, like large projects and essays, require extensive time to grade. You can expect delays in receiving grades on these assignments.
  • Instructors will designate a preferred method of communication, either email or messages. Follow your instructor's guidelines for communication to ensure your questions and concerns are addressed.
  • If you fall behind in a course, immediately contact your instructor.
  • In most online courses, your grades and feedback will be posted in Moodle's Grade Center. Check the Grade Center to keep up with your progress in the course.