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Online Courses

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The ELI was one of the first programs on campus to regularly offer hybrid or online classes, long before the pandemic. Students should expect both independent and collaborative work in an ELI online course. The academic rigor and workload in both online classes is SIMILAR to that of a traditional face-to-face class.

Is Online Learning Right for You?

Many students taking online  courses say that it feels like there is a lot more “homework”. This is because online courses do not have a regular meeting time — all the time devoted to the course is done online. A typical classroom-based ELI course involves 3 hours per week in the classroom, plus 3-6 hours of homework each week. An online course has a total of 6-9 hours of work to do each week. Since the online courses have no “class” time, it feels as if there is more homework, but in fact, the total time is approximately the same.

  • Online sections are NOT easier than in-class sections. They are designed to be equivalent courses, and are equally difficult. For some people, they may actually be more difficult, because there is no opportunity for face-to-face contact with the teacher and other students.
  • Online sections require a higher degree of independence and self-discipline, as well as excellent time-management skills.
  • You should be the type of person who can learn easily on your own — that is, if you are the type of person who learns much better through classroom discussion and face-to-face interaction, you would be more successful (and, most likely, happier) taking an in-class section rather than an online section.
  • You need regular access to a computer that has strong internet capabilities. If not, you may not be able to take the online section.
  • You need to be very good at using computers, including:
    • skilled at using the world wide web for searching and other purposes
    • fairly fast and accurate at typing
    • familiar with navigating websites and using common features of course websites, such as a “digital drop box”
    • familiar with downloading and installing necessary equipment and applications
    • good at reading in English, online. All the instructions and some of the materials will be in written form online, so if you are a slow reader, or have difficulty with reading online, you may want to think about whether or not an online section is really right for you
    • comfortable and familiar with appropriate norms for email and discussion board communication
  • Each ELI online section has an instructor who is available to guide and assist you. If you are having difficulty, the instructors are happy to help wherever they can. However, please keep in mind that the instructor’s main job is to teach the course, not to help students get used to the special requirements of online learning, so it is important to learn quickly how to “do things” online.