8 Things to Get a Handle On: Online Learner Competencies

There are a few things you probably need to learn how to do in order to boost your comfort level with learning online. These are highlighted in orange. The remaining few are specific to some online courses but not ALL courses require these competencies.

If you are in a DE course, you’ll find help in the Orientation to Learning Online website (on your WebCT/Vista list). If it is not there, contact the olthelpdesk@exchange.ubc.ca with your cwl. Other resources are listed here as well.

What Do I Need to Do? Example Where Can I Find Some Help?
Meet the expected time commitment per course.
  • Commit to approximately 10-15 hours per week for study and online work per course.
Use a problem solving approach when encountering technical or other difficulties.
  • Use your resources effectively when you first encounter a problem.
  • Let your instructor know if you can’t solve it right away.
Tech support:

Learning resources:

Demonstrate basic level of technical proficiency.
  • Upload file attachments using the assignment tool in WebCT.
  • Post to a discussion.
  • Understand what a threaded discussion is and post correctly to a thread (topic).
  • Know how to work with word docs and pdfs.
Learning resources:

Demonstrate effective time management strategies.
  • Participate in discussions according to the course schedule.
  • Complete assignments in a timely fashion.
  • Contact your instructor immediately in the event of unexpected problems.
  • Make use of university resources to help you overcome challenges.
Learning resources:

Use effective research skills (online searches using library databases).
  • Locate full-text journal articles online.
  • Cite research appropriately.
  • Refer to research in discussion postings as appropriate (with citation).
Learning resources:

  • Orientation to Learning Online (login to Vista or WebCT). For distance learners. Refer to the Library and Information Literacy modules. (includes instructional videos and practice activities).
  • LEAP: Academic Support Resources
Communicate effectively online.
  • Use principles of “netiquette”.
  • Respect and encourage the sharing of ideas that may be different from your own.
  • Follow the guidelines for discussions outlined by your course instructor.
Learning resources:

Collaborate effectively with a group online.
  • Develop a clear understanding of the components of effective group work: group process, establishing trust, communicating effectively and managing conflict.
  • Be familiar with the tools used for online communication (Skype, wikis, other)
Learning resources:

Demonstrate how to write an effective reflection on an activity or event.
  • Be familiar with different types of written reflections.
Learning resources:

  • Orientation to Learning Online (login to Vista or WebCT). For distance learners. Refer to the Reflective Practice module.

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