Online Learning

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Online Learning

Life happens, but that doesn’t mean it has to derail your educational goals. Online learning at Villa Maria College offers students a flexible schedule as a pathway for completing your college degree or program geared towards career training and job preparation.

Is Online Learning For Me?

This is a question that every student should ask when considering taking an online course. While the name and description of the course may be similar between a face-to-face offering and the online version, there are many differences in online course delivery and instructor expectations that potential students need to take into serious consideration prior to registration.

Perhaps even more important than understanding the unique structure and requirements of the online course itself is the understanding of what it takes to be a successful online learner. While online learning provides greater flexibility for busy learners, online learning also demands a disciplined approach. Not everyone feels comfortable learning in the online environment. Online courses are not easier than traditional, face-to-face classroom courses.

Below is a look at the student-side of the learning experience and examine the characteristics necessary for success.

#1: Self-direction and Motivation (Managing Your Own Learning)
An online course does not come to you. Success in the online learning environment requires a student to be self-directed and self-motivated. Unlike a face-to-face course that meets at a specific place and time, the online student must work hard to acquire course information, meet deadlines and participate actively. While the online instructor typically works diligently to keep students on track, doing so is ultimately the responsibility of the student.

#2: Time Management Skills and the Ability to Prioritize
Good time management skills are one of the most important qualities for the successful online learner to have. While tied closely with self-direction and self-motivation, proper time management and the ability to set priorities are keys to success.

#3: Reading Comprehension
In looking at the differences between face-to-face and online instruction, it is easy to see how much of the material is presented in written form in an online course. Not only are textbook readings typically assigned, but text-based lectures and other extensive readings are also often required. It is imperative, therefore, that the online learner have impeccable reading skills and have the ability to read for comprehension.

#4: Effective Communication in Writing
The successful online learner not only needs to be able to read for comprehension, he or she also need to be able to communicate thoughts effectively and appropriately in a written form. Online students will be expected to communicate clearly and articulately in writing with their peers and their instructors.

#5: Basic Computer Skills and Preparation
Online students need to have basic computer skills in order to effectively interact and complete activities in their online courses. Students need to be able to focus on the content and assignments in
their online course, without struggling and getting bogged down by the mechanics of how to navigate and use the system.

#6: Desire to Improve
Instructors provide feedback to students in online courses through a variety of methods. Feedback is given on assignments, through discussion, course messages and the Grade Center. The successful online student is able to take this feedback and use it to improve performance for remaining activities in the semester.

Qualities of Successful Online Students

  • Self-directed: Student is able to learn without immediate face-to-face instruction and is willing to seek more help when needed, including seeking tutoring help.
  • Self-disciplined: Student is motivated to log in to the course frequently and actively participate in all course activities.
  • Manages time efficiently: Student uses time wisely and always keeps track of due dates, completes assignments on time, and manages distractions well.
  • Confident writer: Student feels comfortable sharing their written responses with others enrolled in the course.
  • Effective communicator: Student is willing to use new modes of communication and communicates effectively with the instructor and other classmates.
  • Effective problem solver: Student feels comfortable solving problems and seeking solutions to either academic concerns or technical issues.
  • Confident in using technology: Student feels comfortable using various technologies and is willing to learn new software.
  • Access to reliable technology: Student has regular access to dependable technology including computer, printer, and the Internet.

Expectations & Responsibilities of Online Students

Expectations & Responsibilities for Online Students

Your success online is critical to us. The following expectations will help you stay actively engaged with your instructor, peers, and course work.

Successful online students

  • Check the D2L grade book regularly and follow up with any questions.
  • Use communication guidelines from instructors to ensure you are receiving critical announcements. Check the course syllabus your instructor’s preferred method of communication.
  • Respond to all emails and communications from instructors within 1-2 business days.
  • Track assignment due dates and make plans to complete them on-time.
  • Follow the grading rubrics and all instructions for each assignment.
  • Read feedback on assignments and make suggested changes to future assignments. This is important as it shows you are serious about improving your skills.
  • Be present in the course at least four days a week (logging in, viewing material, submitting assignments and participating in course activities).Utilize campus resources when you need additional assistance in a subject or course (Student Success Center, Library, IT support, etc.). Our campus resources are free of charge for Villa Maria students. Please take advantage of them.

Student Responsibilities

  • Starting at the beginning of the semester login to the course regularly.
  • Locate and read the course syllabus.
  • Purchase, rent or download all necessary course materials.
  • Keep track of all assignments, deadlines and tests.
  • Communicate with the instructor and classmates as requested by the instructor.
  • Communicate with the instructor about academic concerns or technical issues.
  • Seek tutoring help when necessary.
  • Adhere to College policies and academic dates and deadlines as outlined in the Student Handbook and College catalog.
  • Attend all course sessions (video for online courses or face-to face for hybrid courses)

Students Can Expect:

  • Adequate access to course(s) prior to the beginning of the semester
  • Timely responses to correspondence from the instructor.
  • Awareness of their current academic standing in the course.
  • No variance in the College policies and procedures from traditional, face-to-face courses.
  • Dates and times of all virtual or face-to-face course sessions.

Felician Online Alliance

What is the Felician Online Alliance (FOA)?

The Felician Online Alliance is a collaboration between Villa Maria College, Madonna University and Felician University linking their online academic offerings to enhance a student’s educational experience. As a member institution, it gives our students the opportunity to take credit bearing, online courses through other FOA member institutions.

FOA Frequently Asked Questions

  • Students can utilize their financial aid to take FOA courses
  • FOA offers courses that are full sixteen week semesters and also eight week offerings during the first and second half of each semester as well.
  • FOA courses can be used to retake a course that has already been completed at Villa with an unsatisfactory grade.

When to Consider Taking an FOA Course

  • If the student needs a course to move along in their plan of study, but it is not offered at Villa during that semester
  • If the student is looking to take an independent study that could be satisfied by an FOA course
  • If the student is looking to take a course that we don’t offer at Villa

How do Villa Students Register for FOA courses?

Felician Higher Education Online Alliance Registration Form

Technical Skills for Online

Technical Skills Requirements for Successful Online Learning

Students enrolled in online courses are responsible for having enough computer skills and technology access to accomplish the tasks that will be expected of them.  Online instructors are not responsible for teaching these skills within the course.  If you do not possess the following computer skills, you may want to take a class to increase your computer knowledge before you attempt an online class.

Minimal key skills required:

  • Knowledge of computer terminology, such as browser, operating system, application, software, files, documents, icon, etc.
  • Understanding of basic computer hardware and software with the ability to perform computer operations, such as:
    • Using keyboard and mouse
    • Managing files and folders: save, name, copy, move, backup, rename, delete, check properties
    • Software installation, security, and virus protection
    • Using software applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, email
    • Knowledge of copying and pasting, spell-checking, saving files in different formats
    • Uploading and downloading attachments
  • Internet skills (connecting, accessing sites, using browsers)
  • Ability to use online communication tools, such as email (create, send, receive, reply, print, send/receive attachments), discussion boards (read, search, post, reply, follow threads), chats, and video conferencing (such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.).
  • Perform online research using various search engines and library databases
  • Create online accounts

Technology Requirements for Online Classes

Basic Technology Requirements

Taking online and hybrid courses at Villa Maria College requires you to have access to appropriate and reliable technology to access course materials.  It is strongly recommended that you have access to a personal computer or laptop when you register for an online or hybrid course. Students may use computers in the open computer labs on campus, the Student Success Center (SSC) or library but that access may be limited since computer availability is on a first-come basis during normal operating hours.

You will need to have access to the following software/hardware:

  • Computer (Mobile devices are not recommended as some applications may not be available or accessible with all mobile devices.)
  • Working microphone and webcam (can be combined or included with computer hardware such as in a laptop)
  • Speakers or headphones
  • High-Speed Internet Connection

Technology requirements for individual courses may vary and your course may require more hardware or software.  See the course syllabus or contact the instructor for additional technology requirements.

Note that in addition to these technology requirements, online students must also possess certain technical skills to be successful in an online class.

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Important Links and Available Resources

Library Information & Databases – Locate services, research help, and access books, articles & media

Student Success Center – Offers academic help, services and programs to support academic success

How to Access Villa Technology – Learn how to access the various college systems such as webmail, D2L, student portal

How to Access Your Digital Materials – Learn how to access digital materials for your courses.

Helpful “How to” Videos – Learn how to read your mail, view financial aid, or access college systems

Contact Us

Need help?

Submit an IT Help Desk to our IT Specialists or drop us an email at [email protected]

Jacqueline Fluent, MS Ed., CAS
Educational Technology Specialist
716.961.2856
[email protected]