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How does an online course work?

Which are the basic prerequisites that you should fulfill?

You will have access to a computer and to an internet connection and you will know the basic functions of a browser. Connecting expenses will run on your account and must be reflected in your budget in addition to enrollment fees. You will perhaps also have access to a printer in order to unload some reading material if you donšt want to work only on the screen. It will be advisable to have some diskettes available as well in order to save your work at your convenience. If you donšt fulfill all those requirements, we recommend that you get in touch with someone nearby who could provide you with the necessary information. Unfortunately we will not be in a position to assist you in respect of such issues.

How does an online course work?

The course in organized in seven sessions of each approximately one week of duration. It starts at a date laid down in advance.

You will be requested to peruse a certain amount of reading material and to engage into search on the internet, to answer questions and then to participate in writing in the debates held in the forums. Ability groupings will be formed with a view to preparing and making presentations to other participants. External senior specialists or actors may also be invited to participate in some of the debates. Participants will be requested to carry out a piece of research work and make a final presentation on a topic of their choice agreed with the facilitator.

The class load will take you from five to eight hours weekly, the timing and place of your work being decided by you at your convenience. It will be necessary, however, for you to connect several times per week to the internet. You will have the possibility of downloading files to your hard disk and eventually printing some of the reading material if you donšt want to work full time online. You must nevertheless be prepared to spend a minimum of two hours per week online to participate in the forums.

The final assessment of participation in the course will be allocated as follows: 30% for participation in the forums, 40% for assignments following the sessions, and 30% for the final assignment. A score of 80% will entitle participants to a certificate.

The course will take place with a roll of 16 participants at the maximum and 12 at a minimum, so as to facilitate a personalized attention and direct contacts. Enrollment fees should be paid in full at the latest ten days before the beginning of the course. The full amount of the fees will be reimbursed if you decide to give up participation and you communicate your decision within four days after the beginning of the course.


Is an online course easier than a face to face one ?

In an online course you are in a very different situation from that which prevails with a face to face course or seminar. In the latter you can attend the class with a passive attitude, just listening to the teacher you have selected and concentrating on the options you find convenient. In such a situation, if you are present and if you listen more or less attentively, you may leave the class with a sense of satisfaction. But it canšt be certain that you have been learning much. Online, you must carry out by yourself a good part of the work. And educators state it unequivocally : that is the best and the more efficient way to learn.

Online, the essential part of the communication goes through the written word, even with electronic communication and even though pictures are also used. It is true that online you loose the richness of the non verbal communication which is an important characteristic of face to face courses. But you gain in accuracy in expressing your ideas, the mode of communicating of all participants tends to be common. On line, the prejudices linked to sex, ethnicity, age, handicap, in sum related to the appearance, are fading away.

An online course is not a panacea. It is not the same as watching TV or going to the movies: you must commit yourself if you want to gain full benefit from the course.


Why should I take a course when I could learn by myself with books, magazines or internet?

Of course you could try. We have all tried. However, to be informed is one thing, and to learn is another. What a course offers you, besides the reading, is a method, an accompaniment. That is equally valid for both a course face to face and an online course. The great novelty with the new technologies linked to internet is the possibility of the bi-directional communication, of the exchange. With traditional distance teaching you were alone facing books, notebooks, possibly videotapes. You then filled out multiple choice questionnaires that you sent back by mail. The new technologies facilitate exchange an interaction which are essential in a learning process. Are you ready to experiment participating in a virtual learning community?

 

 
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