The Online Learning Environment

How the Online Learning Environment Works

By being part of the online experience at MCC, you are involved in an electronic community consisting of online classrooms, information/library resources, advisors and counselors, services such as the bookstore, and a variety of opportunities to communicate and dialogue with MCC professionals in an academic setting. Here, you will engage in discussions with professors, classmates and colleagues, collaborate on course work, and communicate in common cyber forums.

In the online learning environment, you will need access to a computer with an Internet connection (such as through a modem, DSL, or cable modem). Most frequently this computer will be your own personal computer. In addition, you will also be able to access your online class at your local library, your work computer, or on campus at MCC using the computers in the MCC Library or Open Labs.

Once you have signed up for a course, you will be able to choose the time and place to attend class. Whether you decide to participate from home or at work, you will be able to participate at your convenience! What’s great about choosing an online course at MCC is that you decide how and when you obtain your electronic assignments.

During the course, you will be doing a fair amount of reading, typing and reflecting on what others have written. In an on-campus classroom most communication involves talking and listening, with some reading and writing. In an online course, communication mostly occurs through reading and writing.

You will be communicating directly with fellow students and the instructor through discussion forums, email, and virtual chat. Each course includes a discussion forum area, which is the primary communication vehicle for the course. In the discussion forums, you can expect to read material from your professor as well as ideas and responses from your fellow students. Sometimes you may be asked to post your assignments to a discussion forum for peer review, other times you may be asked to submit assignments to your professor directly either through a private electronic “drop box” or through email. Occasionally you may use a synchronous chat area for student and group communications within your class. Virtual chat can be used to hold live classroom discussions and office hour type question/answer forums. At times, the instructor may invite guest speakers and subject matter experts to join in on cyber discussions.

On average, you should plan to spend a similar number of hours working on your online class to those you would spend on a regular class (including both the hours of traditional in-class time as well as the hours of reading and homework). We suggest setting aside specific hours each week to work on your course including completing and submitting assignments, reading supplementary texts on coursework, accessing lectures, and participating in class discussions.